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Canaan topic of UT Center for Religious Understanding lecture

The University of Toledo’s Center for Religious Understanding will host the 2018 Dr. Morton Goldberg Lecture titled “The Conquest of Canaan: Between Morality and Myth.”

The event will take place Monday, May 21, at 7 p.m. in Libbey Hall on Main Campus and will be followed by a dessert reception.

Since its establishment in 1975, this event has honored Dr. Morton Goldberg, rabbi emeritus of Temple B’nai Israel. It also serves as an opportunity for students and the Toledo community to acquire a better understanding of individuals who come from diverse racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds.

Dr. Yonatan Miller, Philip Markowicz Visiting Assistant Professor of Judaism and Jewish Biblical Studies, and director of the UT Center for Religious Understanding, will be the guest speaker.

“The lecture examines how both scholars and traditional readers of the Hebrew Bible approach the Israelite conquest of the Land of Canaan,” Miller said. “I will be asking a series of questions about the conquest, touching on history, archaeology, literature and philosophy, and traversing over two millennia of writing and thought.”

Miller received his PhD in Jewish studies from Harvard University in 2015 and held a postdoctoral appointment as a Harry Starr Fellow in Judaica at Harvard’s Center for Jewish Studies. His work examines the interpretive reception of the Hebrew Bible among ancient Jewish writers, with a focus on the continuities, adaptations and appropriations of biblical motifs in classical Jewish literature.

The installment of the Dr. Morton Goldberg Lecture is made possible through a grant provided by the Dr. Morton Goldberg Lecture Fund of the Toledo Community Foundation in cooperation with The University of Toledo’s Center for Religious Understanding and seeks to enhance the perspectives of those willing to learn more about religious backgrounds and diversity.

“I have long been intrigued by this topic and thanks to the Dr. Morton Goldberg Lecture Fund, I will be able to present my initial findings and continue my research over the summer,” Miller said.

Although registration isn’t required for the free, public lecture, it is requested by Tuesday, May 15. Email the Center for Religious Understanding at cfru@utoledo.edu or call 419.530.6190.

UT partners with Ohio’s public universities in efforts to close attainment gap

The University of Toledo is partnering with Ohio’s 13 other public universities to raise awareness of the value of public higher education and spur efforts to produce more college graduates to close the state’s higher education attainment gap.

The statewide campaign, called Forward Ohio, seeks to mobilize public support for enhanced investment in public higher education and ensure that it is a public policy imperative for state government.

“We know that higher education is a smart investment for the college graduate who will earn $1 million more than a high school graduate over the course of a lifetime,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said. “It also is a smart investment for the state because Ohio needs a highly skilled workforce to attract and retain the jobs of the future. Public universities like The University of Toledo play an important role in training the majority of those skilled workers.”

Studies indicate that about 66 percent of jobs in Ohio in 2025 will require degree, certificate or other postsecondary workforce credentials. Currently, just 44 percent of working age Ohioans have these credentials.

The Forward Ohio campaign illustrates how maintaining a strong system of public higher education is essential to closing the attainment gap and meeting the economic and workforce needs of the state’s business community.

In addition to producing the workforce of the future, public universities also have direct economic impacts on their communities. In northwest Ohio, UT is the region’s second largest employer and has a $3.3 billion annual impact on the community. For every $1 invested by the state into UT, $10 of economic impact is generated to the local economy.

UT also is an exceptional value for students providing a high-quality education with one of the lowest tuition rates among Ohio’s public universities.

The value of a UT degree has been validated by external sources such as Schools.com, which ranked UT Ohio’s best four-year college when analyzing criteria such as affordability, flexibility and student services. The website LendEDU also ranked UT the top Ohio public college for the lowest student debt. Most recently, Student Loan Hero listed Toledo third in its list of the 20 cheapest cities in the country for college students, a ranking based on cost-of-living data in college towns where students benefit from low room and board costs on and off campus.

“UT and all of Ohio’s public universities provide significant value to our students and to the state,” Gaber said. “I join my fellow university presidents in advocating for enhanced support for strong public higher education to move Ohio forward.”

Visit the Forward Ohio website at forwardohio.org for more detailed facts, figures and success stories.

New genetic analysis center at UT to accelerate research in disease prevention, detection and treatment

The University of Toledo Women & Philanthropy Genetic Analysis Instrumentation Center will be unveiled Thursday, May 17, at 6 p.m. with a ceremony in Health Education Building Room 100 on Health Science Campus, followed by tours of the facility located on the second floor.

The center, which increases the capability of UT researchers in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences to develop preventative, diagnostic and treatment strategies for diseases such as cancer and heart disease, was created with the help of nearly $60,000 from Women & Philanthropy, the largest grant ever awarded by the volunteer organization that supports UT initiatives.

A researcher works in the Women & Philanthropy Genetic Analysis Instrumentation Center.

“This is a critical investment that advances the research mission of UT,” said Marcy McMahon, chair of Women & Philanthropy. “We believe it will serve to improve public health and retain and attract talented scientists dedicated to curing diseases.”

“The center truly transforms work in the emerging field of molecular diagnostics,” said Dr. David Kennedy, assistant professor in the Department of Medicine and co-director of the UT Women & Philanthropy Genetic Analysis Instrumentation Center. “By saving valuable time and using a high-quality process, it sets new standards for molecular testing and incorporates all workflow steps from sample preparation to genetic marker detection.”

“We are extremely grateful for the significant investment provided by Women & Philanthropy to establish the center, which will greatly enhance our capability to investigate numerous diseases and develop potential therapies,” said Dr. Steven Haller, assistant professor in the Department of Medicine and co-director of the new center with Kennedy.

The researchers recently received three grants totaling $450,000 from the Ohio Department of Higher Education to support their water quality research into how exposure to algal toxins, such as microcystin, affects organ function and to create new therapies to prevent and treat organ damage, especially in vulnerable patient populations.

“Although scientists in UT’s Department of Medicine are involved in many cutting-edge research projects vital to human health areas, they lacked the ability to process and examine multiple human and experimental samples for genetic analysis without significant delay,” McMahon said. “The Genetic Analysis Center meets that need.”

The UT Women & Philanthropy Genetic Analysis Instrumentation Center also received more than $45,000 in support from Qiagen, a biomedical company headquartered in Germany, to help pay for instruments, including:

• The Qiagen TissueLyser II, a tissue processor that allows up to 192 biological samples to be processed at the same time;

• The QIACube HT, a DNA-, RNA- and protein-extraction system that uses nucleic acid to quickly and easily purify DNA, RNA, protein and miRNA from almost any type of sample, including cells, tissues and food, as well as from bacteria and viruses in animal samples;

• The QIAgility, an automated liquid handling system that provides rapid, high-precision setup for polymerase chain reaction, a technique used to amplify, or make many copies of, a segment of DNA; and

• Real-time multiplex polymerase chain reaction thermal cyclers that use a centrifugal rotary design to allow each reaction tube to spin in a chamber of moving air, which keeps all samples at each step of the cycling program at exactly the same temperature. The system contains integrated Q-Rex software for data integration and analysis.

Teams across region to calibrate water-quality sensors for Lake Erie buoy network

Scientists from nearly a dozen organizations throughout the region are visiting The University of Toledo Lake Erie Center Tuesday, May 15, to calibrate equipment that will be deployed in buoys across Lake Erie to measure water quality throughout algal bloom season.

“It’s like in the old movies when the mission leader says, ‘Let’s synchronize our watches,’ before the team splits up,” Dr. Tom Bridgeman, UT professor of ecology and director of the UT Lake Erie Center, said. “This collaboration helps to ensure conformity of data coming from the probes for the next few months.”

UT’s water quality and sensor buoy annually rides the waves off the shore of the Maumee Bay State Park Lodge and Conference Center in Oregon.

Partners in the early-warning buoy network will do the calibration between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Those include researchers from Bowling Green State University and Ohio State University, as well as water treatment plant operators in the cities of Oregon, Toledo, Elyria, Avon, Sandusky and Lorain. LimnoTech, YSI and Fondriest Environmental are local companies providing technology support.

UT’s water quality and sensor buoy annually rides the waves off the shore of the Maumee Bay State Park Lodge and Conference Center in Oregon. It is part of an early-warning network of buoys throughout the western Lake Erie basin that provides live data vital in the assessment of harmful algal blooms.

“We go out on our research vessel at least once a week for sampling throughout the summer, but the buoys are out there all the time,” Bridgeman said. “Even when it’s too rough for boats to be on the lake, the buoys can alert if something is developing or changing quickly.”

The buoys are equipped with what is called the YSI EXO sonde, a black and blue instrument composed of several probes to measure various water quality parameters, including how much blue-green algae is present, water temperature, clarity, oxygen levels, turbidity and pH.

It’s one piece of the battle plan to track and combat the growing harmful algal bloom in order to sound the early warning for water treatment plant operators as they work to provide safe public drinking water.

“We are watching very closely and are prepared,” Bridgeman said.

Latino Youth Summit to educate, motivate prospective students

The University of Toledo will host the Latino Youth Summit Tuesday and Wednesday, May 15 and 16, from 9:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. for area high school and middle school students.

Junior high students will attend May 15, while high school students will visit May 16.

Each year, more than 500 Latino junior high and high school students visit campus to learn more about the different educational opportunities UT provides along with other postsecondary options.

A goal of the summit is to equip students and families with information and resources for college planning and different career paths that are available through sessions of pre-high school and pre-college course work.

“This is our 16th annual Latino Youth Summit,” said Aleiah Jones, program coordinator in the Office of Multicultural Student Success at UT and committee chair of the event. “It has a legacy in our community as being the largest gathering of Latino youth in northwest Ohio.”

The summit aims to encourage students to strive for success and a promising future while instilling a sense of pride for their heritage. It also seeks to address the Latino achievement gap in northwest Ohio, according to Jones.

During this event, students will participate in hands-on activities in different fields such as pharmacy, nursing and engineering, and learn about educational opportunities both at UT and abroad.

High school students who register and attend the event are encouraged to apply for the President’s Summit Award worth $2,000 annually. Ten of these scholarships are available and will include room and board for each recipient’s first year.

Quiñones

This year’s keynote speaker will be Josué “JQ” Quiñones, an educator and life coach. He will speak both days at 10 a.m. in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium.

Quiñones was born and raised in the Hunts Point area of the South Bronx in New York. He will share his story about attending college to create a better life for himself. He is dedicated to inspiring and providing motivation to audiences along with encouraging them to live a “quality lifestyle built for success” and has spoken to more than 20,000 students and professionals.

“As he frequently shares, his life experience has led him to truly believe, what you actively and consistently engage in, or surround yourself with, is a determining factor of success,” Jones said.

This ideology and lifestyle led Quiñones to coin the phrase: “Success is a lifestyle!”

For more information about registration or any questions pertaining to the event, contact Jones at 419.530.2261 or aleiah.jones@utoledo.edu.

Alliance for Paired Kidney Donation celebrates 10-year anniversary

The Alliance for Paired Kidney Donation is celebrating its 10-year anniversary with a gala Saturday, May 12, at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Toledo.

The Toledo-based nonprofit organization, founded by UT Medical Center transplant surgeon Dr. Michael Rees, has led innovation in kidney transplantation around the world, delivering pay-it-forward chains of kidney transplants and founding the Global Kidney Exchange.

More than 25 percent of the living donor kidney transplants performed at UTMC during the last decade were performed as a result of the partnership with the Alliance for Paired Kidney Donation.

For more information about the gala fundraising event, which is sponsored by UTMC, visit paireddonation.org/fundraiser.

UT medical student receives Sarnoff Fellowship for cardiovascular research

A third-year medical student at The University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences was selected as a 2018-19 Sarnoff Fellow.

Rahul Mital, who is studying to work in the field of pediatric cardiology, is one of nine students across the United States awarded the honor.

Mital

“This is a very competitive, prestigious award,” said Dr. Christopher Cooper, dean of the UT College of Medicine and Life Sciences, and executive vice president for clinical affairs. “We are proud of Rahul and look forward to his achievements in cardiovascular research.”

The Sarnoff Fellowship program offers medical students enrolled in accredited U.S. medical schools the opportunity to spend a year conducting intensive work in a biomedical research facility in the United States other than the medical school in which they are enrolled.

“I’m humbled by the opportunity that lies ahead of me and plan to make the most of it,” Mital said. “Being a member of the Sarnoff Cardiovascular Research Foundation and partaking in world-class research while receiving mentorship and guidance is truly an invaluable step in achieving my goals.”

Rahul plans to study cardiogenesis, which is the development of the heart in the embryo, and how to use gene therapy as a potential treatment for congenital heart disease.

“No child deserves to be born with a congenital heart disease, but the unfortunate truth is that congenital heart disease is the most common type of birth defect, affecting 40,000 births per year in the United States alone,” Mital said. “If a greater understanding of the underlying pathophysiology is achieved, patient care can move away from expensive surgeries and lifelong follow-ups, and instead be focused at the molecular level.”

The full-time Sarnoff Fellowship is a one-year award of $32,000 for the 2018-19 academic year. Fellows also receive financial support for travel and moving expenses.

The 2018-19 Fellows were introduced at the Sarnoff Foundation’s 38th Annual Scientific Meeting last week in Boston.

UT researchers’ paper receives award from American Educational Research Association

Dr. Snejana Slantcheva-Durst, a faculty member in the Higher Education Program, and Dr. Mingyang Liu, data systems analyst from Institutional Research, received the exemplary paper award from the Special Interest Groups (SIG): Measurement and Assessment in Higher Education within the American Educational Research Association.

The honor was for their paper on “Confidence to Perform in the Global Marketplace: Constructing and Validating a Survey Instrument for Community College Students.”

Dr. Snejana Slantcheva-Durst, left, and Dr. Mingyang Liu, right, posed for a photo with their award, which they received from Dr. Natasha Jankowski, Special Interest Groups chair of the American Educational Research Association.

The award is targeted for anyone submitting a paper to the SIG track, and eligibility for the recognition requires acceptance of the paper into the SIG program.

“Winning the award reassured me that the research Ming and I did could be of use,” said Slantcheva-Durst, associate professor in the Judith Herb College of Education. “More importantly, I was very happy that it was this specific study that received the award — a study where I worked with someone I have known as a student in the Higher Education Program, then as a PhD candidate in another College of Education program, and then as a colleague. For me, this award reaffirmed the value in collaboration with students and colleagues.”

Their paper focuses on global awareness and the ability to work in an increasingly global environment. They studied college students’ confidence to perform in the global market place and their beliefs in their own abilities to successfully carry out job-related tasks.

“Our goal was to operationalize this concept, and design and test an instrument that gauges that confidence,” Slantcheva-Durst said.

The instrument they developed can be used to assist educators in evaluating the results of their efforts to increase students’ global awareness.

“We hope findings from this paper can offer useful feedback to college internationalization-focused staff in their efforts to assess outcomes of international initiatives for college students, thus supporting program assessment, evaluation of student growth, and institutional decision-making,” Liu said.

Liu and Slantcheva-Durst traveled to New York City to receive their award earlier this month.

“I think this award is very affirming that our research really makes a difference in the field, and I want to continue to pursue this direction in the future as a quantitative researcher in social sciences,” Liu said.

The American Educational Research Association is a national society that strives to advance knowledge to encourage scholarly inquiry related to education, and to promote the use of research to improve education and serve the public good.

West Rocket Drive set to close for construction project

A portion of West Rocket Drive on Main Campus is scheduled to close starting Friday, May 11.

The street will be closed for through traffic from the railroad tracks to West Towerview Boulevard.

Traffic will be able to enter lot 12 by the Law Center, lot 26 by the Student Medical Center, and lot 26E by the Horton International House from the north.

Drivers can detour around the construction via Secor Road and through lot 25 by Rocket Hall.

This closure is expected to run through Friday, June 29, according to Dan Perry, electrical manager with Facilities and Construction.

“Crews are installing a tunnel system between two steam vaults and running new condensate and steam lines,” Perry said.

Girls in science day at UT May 10

More than 160 sophomore high school girls will visit The University of Toledo Thursday, May 10, when prominent female scientists and engineers across the region will introduce them to the exciting world of science and technology careers through hands-on experiments and demonstrations.

The ninth annual Women in STEMM Day of Meetings, which goes by the acronym WISDOM, will take place from 8 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. on UT’s Main Campus and Health Science Campus.

Area students tested their handmade solar cells constructed with glass, blackberries and graphite during last year’s Women in STEMM Day of Meetings, which goes by the acronym WISDOM.

UT faculty and industrial professionals will help inspire a passion for science careers by exploring the tools of the trade.

The girls will carry out investigations in a number of areas, including physics and astronomy, chemistry, biology, psychology, engineering, pharmacy, and medicine.

Activities for students will include building solar cells, swabbing their cheeks for a DNA sample, aseembling a motor, generating electricity on a bike, making biodiesel fuel, creating lip balm, and touring the anatomy museum.