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Archive for August, 2012

Acting executive director for UT Medical Center named


A familiar face and a leader in University of Toledo Medical Center’s effort to transform its culture over the last several years has been named acting executive director of the hospital.

Pending Board of Trustees approval, Dr. Jeffrey Gold, chancellor and executive vice president for biosciences and health affairs, has selected Norma Tomlinson to lead UTMC following the appointment of Dr. Scott Scarborough to the position of provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, also pending board approval.

She has served as UTMC associate vice president and associate executive director.

“Norma has been an integral part of UTMC, and we are lucky to have her leadership during this time of transition. Her leadership is an important reason why external organizations like the Joint Commission, U.S. News & World Report and Press Ganey have all held UTMC in high esteem. She has been a stalwart champion of patient safety and quality, and has worked hard to improve the patient experience,” said Gold, who also serves as dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences.

“With more than 30 years at patients’ bedsides and as a leader in health-care delivery — more than seven of them in an administrative role at UTMC — Norma brings an essential perspective to the importance of the highest quality of care, a commitment to patient satisfaction, and an understanding of the ways the integration of technology can make care safer, more efficient and less expensive,” Gold said.

Tomlinson said she was excited by the opportunity and looked forward to continuing the momentum Scarborough and the entire UTMC team had generated.

“Excellent health care is a team effort, and UTMC has a tremendous group of dedicated people who wake up each day with the goal of improving the lives of those we serve,” Tomlinson said. “I’m honored to take on this role, and I’m excited by the opportunities that lie ahead for UTMC.”

Recipients of Translational Research Stimulation Awards announced

The journey to a medical breakthrough often begins with a single entity: a single theory, a single cell, a single research dollar.

In the field of research, however, those first dollars of funding can often be difficult to obtain. According to Dr. Keith Crist, associate director of the Jacobson Center for Clinical and Translational Research, this lack of substantial support for pilot research projects was the impetus for UT’s Translational Research Stimulation Awards.

“At the pilot stage of a research project, you’re asking very basic questions,” Crist said. “Does this investigation have merit? Can we take this one step further? Unfortunately, funding for these early stages is minimal and to qualify for the larger grants from organizations such as the NIH (National Institutes of Health) and NSF (National Science Foundation), you need to have data and preliminary results.”

UT’s Translational Research Stimulation Awards offer a starting point for collaborative research projects in pilot stages. Four researchers received grants of $25,000 each to fund projects that aim to improve outcomes for patients afflicted with chronic sinusitis, multiple sclerosis, kidney disease and cancer. The recipients and projects:


Dr. Reginald Baugh, professor in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, and chief of the Division of Otolaryngology at UT Medical Center — “Preclinical Evaluation of Photodynamic Therapy for the Treatment of Chronic Sinusitis”

Baugh and his team will develop a model for treating chronic sinusitis — a condition that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, causes more than 12.5 million visits to medical centers each year in the United States — with photodynamic therapy (PDT).

“PDT uses light to kill the bacteria, so this is almost Buck Rogers science,” Baugh said. “Dyes you apply topically will attach themselves to bacteria. When a light is shined on them with the appropriate wavelength, it fluoresces, generating a highly unstable molecule that is toxic to whatever is in the area. Given that it’s attached to the bacteria, it kills the bacteria. We absorb the dyes onto nanoparticles, particles smaller than one-tenth of a micrometer, to permit treatments every few days instead of every few hours.”

Baugh hopes this new method of treatment will enhance patients’ options. A significant population, he noted, continue to experience chronic sinusitis despite treatment with appropriate antibiotics and surgery.

“If we can get this to work, it will be a topical treatment, not a systemic treatment,” Baugh said. “That translates to fewer allergies and interactions with other medications and the potential for no drug resistance. Our preliminary results suggest this technology has the potential to be as effective as the strongest antibiotics currently available and may reduce the frequency of surgeries.”

Baugh’s partners on the project are Dr. Sai Boddu, Dr. Fredrick Bunge, Dr. Brent Cameron and Dr. Ronald Fournier.


Dr. Miles Hacker, professor of pharmacology in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences — “Preclinical Investigations on BBR3378: A Novel Aza-Anthrapyrazole to Treat Multiple Sclerosis”

Hacker and his team have developed a medication they hope will not only cause symptomatic relief for people with multiple sclerosis, but also treat the cause of the disease itself.

“MS attacks the nervous system and the nerves that have an insulating cover around them called the myelin sheath,” Hacker explained. “It’s an inflammatory disease and an autoimmune disease; the patient’s immune system attacks the myelin sheath and destroys it, causing inflammation and scarring.”

Hacker and his team have produced an experimental drug named BBR3378 that, in pre-clinical studies, has been shown to be effective in curbing the damage of MS without the toxicity of current drug therapies. Often, Hacker said, the standard drug to treat MS — mitoxantrone — must be discontinued after a few years due to potentially life-threatening side effects.

“We think our drug decreases the reactivity of the autoimmune cells so they’re not as angry against the patient’s body,” Hacker said. “We also think it suppresses the way the autoimmune system attacks the nerves.

“One of our goals is to determine in acceptable animal models whether BBR is significantly less cardio-toxic than mitoxantrone as a treatment for MS.”

Hacker said BBR3378 was found to be effective in animal models for treatment of another autoimmune disease, myasthenia gravis.

Hacker’s colleagues on the project are Dr. William Gunning, Dr. Boyd Koffman and Dr. Anthony Quinn.


Dr. Kenneth Muldrew, assistant professor of pathology, UT Medical Center — “Non-Invasive Early Detection of Kidney Transplant Rejection Via Next-Generation Sequencing”

Physicians at UT Medical Center performed 57 kidney transplants between June 30, 2010, and July 1, 2011.

Of those, statistics predict that at least five failed due to patients’ rejections of the new kidneys.

“Renal allografts have a failure rate of 10 percent in the first year, despite advances in immunosuppression,” Muldrew said. “Because the patient and the donated kidney have different levels of tissue compatibility, tissue matching increases the odds of a successful transplant, but rejection is a constant threat.”

Present tests, he said, detect problems when rejection already is occurring. With sophisticated instrumentation that’s been on the market for only 18 months, Muldrew aims to discover signs of rejection at earlier stages and potentially save patients and their donor kidneys through “next generation” DNA sequencing.

“The next-generation equipment will allow us to sequence very large amounts of DNA in a patient’s sample,” Muldrew explained. “The patient’s DNA is different from the transplanted kidney DNA. With this technology, we can measure the relative amounts of transplanted kidney DNA within the total amount of DNA. Over time, we hypothesize this test will be much more sensitive than traditional tests for rejection.”

The equipment also will allow sequencing of the major histocompatibility complex, which determines compatibility of donors for organ transplant and susceptibility to autoimmune disease.

“The challenge that we will have is that once you get this huge amount of information, what do you do with it all?” Muldrew asked. “It’s incredibly exciting how far genetic sequencing has progressed in the last 10 years.”

Members of Muldrew’s research team are Dr. Anthony Comerota (collaborator, Promedica Jobst Vascular Institute), Dr. Jennie Lovett and Dr. Michael Rohs.


Dr. Kam Chi Yeung, associate professor of biochemistry and cancer biology, UT Medical Center — “A Micro-RNA Connection in BRafV600E-Induced Melanomagenesis”

If you’ve ever wondered how a spot on your skin can change from a simple aberration to melanoma, or skin cancer, you’re in good company.

Yeung’s project will examine the BRAF gene and its protein, BRaf, which is responsible for the survival and proliferation of cells. Both are key components in the development of melanoma, with approximately 60 percent of cases involving a BRAF mutation, according to Yeung. Paradoxically, the identical mutation in BRAF also occurs in benign nevi (mole) with similar frequency.

Yeung and his team will gather hundreds of melanoma tissue samples from area physicians and conduct tests on BRAF genes. Of particular interest is the unpredictability of the mutated gene.

“Your body is wired to prevent cancer, but when the DNA in a cell changes, a previously healthy cell can become cancerous,” Yeung said. “Activation mutations in the BRAF gene are found in several types of cancer, including melanoma.

“We’ll try to understand the big difference in BRAF mutations,” Yeung said. “Some become cancerous and some become just a mole on the body. Why are there two such different consequences after mutation?”

Skin cancer is the most common form of malignancy in the United States, with about 3.5 million skin cancers in more than two million people diagnosed annually, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Drs. Michael McPhee, Mounir Boutros and Amy Lynn of ProMedica Cancer Institute are partners with Yeung on the project.

The researchers agree that funding from the Translational Research Stimulation Award program is vital to their projects.

“With the current environment, it’s very difficult, very competitive, to get funds for these types of studies,” Yeung said. “It becomes a chicken-egg situation; where do you get the data without initial exploration?”

“Many organizations that award grants want you to have research and data already,” Muldrew added. “Without the seed funding to do some of that work, you won’t be able to compete with others vying for the same grant money. For a relatively new faculty member such as myself, seed money is crucial.”

New mobile app provides access to immunization records

Clinical staff and students at UT Medical Center won’t have to go far to find complete details on their medical records. That information will be as close as the palms of their hands, thanks to a new mobile application developed by The University of Toledo Center for Creative Instruction and College of Medicine and Life Sciences.

The new application, UT Immunization Compliance Report, has been created to assist all faculty, staff and students in reviewing their immunization history and requirements.

“This application was designed as an easy and effective way for medical students and employees to maintain compliance, and review their immunization history and requirements,” said Dr. Ronald McGinnis, associate professor and associate dean for clinical affairs at UT Medical Center. “They can trigger an email from the application showing they are up-to-date. We feel The University of Toledo is taking a proactive step, as our web-based portal is going above and beyond current requirements.”

Through the app, users can quickly review information to show they are in compliance and enable push notifications, which will give them reminders if they are out of compliance or will become out of compliance within one month, according to Brian Szabo, software engineer in the Center for Creative Instruction, who led the application’s technology development.

The free application, the Immunization Compliance Report, can be downloaded to an iPhone, iPad or any Android device by visiting utoledo.edu/centers/cci/portfolio/icr.

Two students complete summer internships in Washington, D.C.

Two students in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at The University of Toledo spent their summer in Washington, D.C., working internships awarded by the Washington Center Internship Program.

Hillary Gyuras was an intern with the International Women's Media Foundation this summer.

Hillary Gyuras interned with the International Women’s Media Foundation, an organization founded in 1990 that empowers women who work in media.

Jeanetta Mohlke-Hill was a canvass intern at the Human Rights Campaign, the largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

“My internship at the Human Rights Campaign gave me insight into the different areas of a nonprofit that I would not have exposure to otherwise,” Mohlke-Hill said. “I was able to learn through hands-on experiences and become more confident by doing something new and different. I developed new skills and refined skills I already possessed.”

Both students, who wrapped up their internships Aug. 3, are seniors majoring in women’s and gender studies. Gyuras also is majoring in law and social thought.

During her time at her internship, Gyuras compiled lists of candidates for the organization’s 2013 Courage in Journalism Awards and Lifetime Achievement Awards, and interviewed previous award winners to write articles for the International Women’s Media Foundation website.

She also completed research for the Environmental Investigative Reporting Fellowship, the HIV/AIDS Investigative Reporting Fellowship and additional programs, and assisted with the organization’s social media outreach.

“Working at the International Women’s Media Foundation was a great way to apply the theories I have been learning at UT to real-world situations,” Gyuras said. “I enjoyed working with the staff members, and I learned a lot just by observing the work that they did.”

Jeanetta Mohlke-Hill was a canvass intern at the Human Rights Campaign.

Mohlke-Hill helped to organize the Human Rights Campaign’s many donors and assisted Equality Maine rally supporters at local events in the state. Her work involved ensuring that the Human Rights Campaign received donations in a timely manner and working with staff on creative projects to cultivate and acknowledge donors.

She also helped with the Human Rights Campaign Major Donor Leadership Summit, a multi-day conference where donors from around the country fly in to learn how their annual gifts are contributing to the organization’s work. It is also an opportunity to provide donors insider information about the overall world of LGBT politics and work.

“Every major in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies is required to do an internship,” said Charlene Gilbert, professor and chair of the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies. “We believe that internships are critical to a student’s success after college. The internships allow students to apply their knowledge and skills in a real-world setting.”

Both Gyuras and Mohlke-Hill received grant money from UT as well as the Washington Center Internship Program to help pay for their summer living expenses.

The Washington Center Internship Program helps provide internships in Washington, D.C., for students from a variety of academic disciplines and is offered each semester to students from all over the world. Students who participate receive college credit as well as invaluable experiences they can carry with them throughout their professional careers.

“A successful internship can point a student in the direction of a job, career or intellectual passion,” Gilbert said. “We are constantly building our database of internship opportunities and support. We want students to have engaged placements that allow them the highest level of exposure to the workplace.”

College of Business and Innovation study offers tips for career survival, advancement

It’s something every employee thinks about: How can I survive — and thrive — at work?

With today’s uncertain economy, answering that question has never been more important.


“We wanted to find out how to keep your job, how to get promoted, and how to get ahead,” said Dr. Clinton Longenecker, UT professor of management.

He led a study conducted by the UT Center for Global Competitiveness, which surveyed more than 6,000 managers across North America.

“We sampled top, middle and front-line managers in nearly every major industry: high-tech, mining, chemical, health care, automotive, banking, financial services, steel, retailing, telecommunications and transportation,” Longenecker said.

“We asked all these managers to identify and rank the factors they considered to be most important to their personal career success and survival.”

The result: “What You Need to Know for Career Survival and Success in the 21st Century,” which was published in a recent issue of Drake Business Review.

“That research article features a top 10 list of career survival and success factors,” Longenecker said. “Review the list and think about how you stack up as a business leader and an employee.”

The top 10 things to focus on to keep your job and advance in your career are:

1. Getting desired results/creating a strong performance track record. “You must clearly define what you are being paid to achieve, establish what your value-added role in the business is and deliver. To not do so is a career killer,” Longenecker said.

2. Employing effective communication skills and practices. “You must be able to communicate effectively with superiors, co-workers, customers, suppliers and direct reports,” he said. “Our survey shows that ineffective communication skills frequently destroy careers at every level of an enterprise.”

3. Nurturing strong working relationships and networks. “Strong working relationships with people around you are essential to doing your job well and getting great results,” Longenecker said. “You must be able to work well with others and in teams for ongoing and real success.”

4. Possessing a positive personality. “Your personality and attitude can be career-enhancing or career-busting,” Longenecker said. “When all other things are equal and a downsizing decision is required, employees with negative personalities and bad attitudes are frequently the first to go.”

5. Staying current and developing yourself to meet the demands of your job. “Ongoing learning is a must. It’s your responsibility to take the time, effort and energy to develop your talent regardless of how busy you are with the day-to-day activities,” he said.

6. Leveraging work experience. “Focus on three things: Learn from your past mistakes, don’t repeat them, and apply those lessons to your daily job,” Longenecker said.

7. Handling pressure and stress — and staying poised. “The workplace is a pressure cooker. Develop a plan to do your job that minimizes unnecessary stress. Improved planning, effective delegation, time and priority management, and personal reflection are tools that can help deal with pressure,” he said. “Staying poised and in control is critical, as panic begets panic.”

8. Demonstrating decision-making and problem-solving prowess. “When good decisions are made, good things happen,” Longenecker said. “Career success requires leaders and employees to be able to change and adapt to improve operations. Key to that is your ability to make good decisions and solve real problems quickly.”

9. Using power and resources effectively. “As we’re all being asked to do more with less, it’s imperative to use your power, influence and resources to marshal forces to get things done,” he said. “Over-controlling and micromanaging can be career killers. Use your power to build team spirit and a strong performance track record needed for success.”

10. Fostering a meaningful mentoring relationship. “Our survey indicated effective mentoring provides three critical development accelerators: giving counsel, creating accountability, and delivering emotional support,” Longenecker said. “And managers can greatly enhance their own leadership skills when they receive mentoring and when mentoring others.”

How did you stack up?

“At the end of the day, employees and leaders are paid to deliver results in a progressive, principled and sustainable fashion; these key factors cut across organizational levels, industries and even countries,” Longenecker said. “It might be worth your time to develop a game plan around this top 10 list. Your career survival, success and sanity just might depend on it.”

Rockets to open home schedule vs. BGSU; Cincinnati to play in Glass Bowl Oct. 20

For the first time in school history, the Toledo Rockets will open the home football schedule against archrivals, the Bowling Green Falcons.

After road games at Arizona Sept. 1 and Wyoming Sept. 8, Toledo will host BGSU at the Glass Bowl Saturday, Sept. 15, the 77th meeting between the schools and the first time the game will serve as UT’s home opener.

Among UT’s other five home games will be a Saturday, Oct. 20, battle with Big East opponent Cincinnati, the first appearance by the Bearcats in the Glass Bowl since 1993.

Toledo also will host Coastal Carolina Saturday, Sept. 22; Central Michigan Saturday, Oct. 6; Ball State Tuesday, Nov. 6; and Akron Saturday, Nov. 20. The Ball State and Akron games will be carried on ESPN2.

The Rockets’ conference road games will be at Western Michigan Saturday, Sept. 29; at Eastern Michigan Saturday, Oct. 13; at Buffalo Saturday, Oct. 27; and at Northern Illinois Wednesday, Nov. 14. The NIU game will be televised on either ESPN2 or ESPNU.

“Our schedule is very challenging but also very exciting for our players and fans,” said Matt Campbell, who will enter his first full season as the Rockets’ head coach. “The Glass Bowl should be rocking for our home opener and all season long. I know our players and coaching staff can’t wait for the season to begin, and I’m sure our fans feel the same way.”

Toledo’s season opener at Arizona will mark the debut of Rich Rodriguez as the head coach of the Wildcats. The Rockets knocked off a Rodriguez-coached Michigan team in 2008.

A week later, the Rockets head to Wyoming, which is coached by former Rocket assistant Dave Christensen.

Toledo was picked to finish first in the Mid-American Conference’s West Division in voting performed by 17 members of the league’s media contingent in an annual preseason poll.

The Rockets received seven first-place votes and a total of 87 points in the annual poll to edge Northern Illinois (83 points) and Western Michigan (79). Ball State (42), Eastern Michigan (34) and Central Michigan (32) rounded out the voting.

Toledo also received three votes to win the annual Marathon MAC Football Championship Game between the winners of the West and East divisions. Ohio, which was picked to repeat as East Division champs, received five votes to win it all.

“It says a lot about our program,” Campbell said. “But it’s just a preseason poll. Obviously, we hope to be there at the end of November.”

Toledo is coming off a 9-4 season in 2011 (7-1 MAC), including a 42-41 victory over Air Force in the Military Bowl. The Rockets return three All-MAC players, along with quarterbacks Austin Dantin and Terrance Owens, and junior wide receiver Bernard Reedy, the 2011 Military Bowl MVP.

Rocket football season ticket orders are being taken; call 419.530.GOLD (4653). UT students are admitted free with ID; faculty and staff may purchase tickets half off with ID.

Vice president discusses marketing UT in Detroit

Larry Burns, UT vice president for external affairs, was a guest on the Paul W. Smith show on WJR 760 AM Tuesday morning to discuss promoting The University of Toledo brand in the Detroit area.

Burns also talked about the upcoming “The Relevant University” radio show, which will focus on the Toledo Region branding campaign. That show will air at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 29, on WJR.

Listen to the Smith show here.

Basketball player helps lead U-20 Spanish National Team to European Championship

Toledo sophomore Inma Zanoguera is a champion. Zanoguera played a key role in helping the U-20 Spanish National Team lay claim to the 2012 European Championship in Hungary.


Spain clinched the Division A title with a 59-46 victory over Russia on Sunday, Aug. 26.

For the tournament, Zanoguera averaged 6.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.0 assists in 22.1 minutes per game. She shot 46.3 percent (25 of 54) from the field and ranked 18th in the championship in offensive caroms (2.4 rebounds per game).

The second-year Rocket scored in double figures on three occasions in the 11-day competition, including 10 points, six boards, four thefts and three helpers in the title game.

Zanoguera was at her best in the last two victories, contributing 10.5 points, 6.5 caroms and 3.5 steals in 29.5 minutes, shooting 58.9 percent (10 of 17) from the floor.

She and the Spanish squad finished the tourney with an impressive 8-1 ledger, outscoring the opposition by 17.8 points (66.7-48.9) per game.

A native of Llucamajor, Spain, Zanoguera started eight of 34 games as a freshman for the Rockets and averaged 3.9 points, 2.9 boards and 1.1 assists in 18.9 minutes. She led the 2011-12 Mid-American Conference West Division co-champions in thefts six times, as well as rebounding, helpers and rejections on three occasions in her first season wearing the Midnight Blue and Gold.

Meal Plans for UT employees, commuters

Dining and Hospitality Services has designed new meal plan options for UT employees and commuter students.

The Employee 75 Meal Plan costs $450; that’s a value of $6 per meal. Purchase this plan and receive a free bonus coupon booklet.

“With the Employee 75 Meal Plan, you could save up to $2.50 each time you eat in any of our dining halls,” said Nicole Milliken, marketing manager with Dining and Hospitality Services.

The Commuter 35 Plan costs $380; that averages out to $7 per meal. Anyone who purchases a Commuter 35 Plan also will receive a free coupon booklet.

Sign up for your Meal Plan through your myUT portal.

For more information, go to utoledo.edu/mealplans or call 419.530.8403.

Gender-neutral/family restrooms open on Main Campus

The University of Toledo has designated certain restrooms on campus as gender neutral and for family use as part of its commitment to diversity.

“Gender-neutral restrooms are not unusual and can now be found everywhere in shopping venues, churches and in many new construction projects,” said Dr. Shanda Gore, associate vice president for equity, diversity and community engagement. “The President’s Council on Diversity has always supported programs or proposals that create an inclusive, welcoming campus environment, and this not only does that but also assists UT in keeping up with the times.”

There are 18 gender-neutral/family restrooms located in the Student Union, Student Recreation Center, Gillham Hall, University Hall and other buildings across campus. For a full listing and map, visit utoledo.edu/campus/virtualtour.

“We are excited that our University is committed to providing safe, private and accessible spaces for all people, particularly in regards to gender identity or expression, disability, and family needs,” said Fatima Pervaiz, program coordinator in the Office of Multicultural Student Services.

All restrooms comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act and are marked as gender-neutral/family restrooms.