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UToledo students’ winning biodesign projects to compete in New York

Two groups of UToledo students will compete against more than 30 teams from around the world Thursday and Friday, June 20 and 21, at the Biodesign Challenge Summit at the Parsons School of Design and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The two teams, PlastiGrow and btilix, won the chance to travel to the Big Apple at the UToledo competition this spring at the Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion.

Btilix team members are, from left, Tyler Saner, Sarah Mattei, Courtney Kinzel, Timothy Wolf and Sherin Aburidi.

Presented by The University of Toledo, the Biodesign Challenge offers art and design, bioengineering, and environmental sciences students the opportunity to envision future applications of biotechnology and biomaterials that address complex global challenges. Students are connected with community experts to develop innovative solutions through interdisciplinary research and iterative prototyping.

“Normally, our jurors award one team with the honor of competing in New York, but this year we have the opportunity to award not just one team — a team that will compete against all schools — but we are also putting up for consideration another team for a special prize, so we are happy to announce our two winning teams, btilix and PlastiGrow,” Eric Zeigler, assistant professor of art, said.

Students on the PlastiGrow team are, from left, McKenzie Dunwald, Michael Socha, Colin Chalmers and Ysabelle Yrad.

The overall winner of the UToledo competition was btilix. This team developed a disinfectant spray for combatting antibiotic-resistant superbugs. The students on the btilix team are Tyler Saner, art; Sarah Mattei, environmental science; Courtney Kinzel, environmental science; Timothy Wolf, bioengineering; and Sherin Aburidi, bioengineering.

The UToledo team, PlastiGrow, is applying to compete in New York for the ORTA Sustainability in Textiles Prize. The team engineered a biodegradable plastic material that can be used in the creation of everyday products to greatly reduce the cost and energy spent on waste and recycling efforts. Team members are McKenzie Dunwald, art; Michael Socha, bioengineering; Colin Chalmers, art; and Ysabelle Yrad, environmental science.

For more information on the competition, visit the Biodesign Challenge website.

UToledo’s ‘Beer Professor,’ alumni entrepreneurs to speak at craft beer lecture and tasting June 13

The community is invited to attend the Craft Beer Lecture and Tasting Thursday, June 13, at 6 p.m. at The University of Toledo Center for Alumni and Donor Engagement, located at 4510 Dorr St.

Dr. Neil Reid, UToledo professor of geography and planning, affectionately known as the “Beer Professor,” will speak about the growth of the craft beer industry and the factors driving that growth. He teaches a class titled The Geography of Beer and Brewing.

Reid

Reid’s latest research about the impact of craft breweries on home values was featured in publications across the country, including Food & Wine magazine and Better Homes and Gardens.

“America is in the middle of a craft beer revolution,” Reid said. “Craft breweries often locate in neighborhoods that were once economically distressed. Thanks to the arrival of the craft brewery and other investments by both the public and private sector, many of these neighborhoods have become revitalized. In fact, our analysis shows living within a half mile of a craft brewery increased the average value of a single-family home by almost 10 percent, using Charlotte, N.C., as a case study.”

Representatives from two Toledo breweries and UToledo alumni also will discuss their journey from home brewers to brewery owners. Keefe Snyder, who graduated from the College of Engineering in 2006 and the College of Law in 2010, is a co-owner of Earnest Brew Works. Aaron Grizaniuk, who graduated from University College in 2005, co-owns Patron Saints Brewery.

The event costs $20 a person and includes eight 3-oz. beer samples and appetizers. The tasting is for people 21 and older.

To register, go to the Alumni Association website or call the Office of Alumni Engagement at 419.530.2586.

The event is hosted by the UToledo Arts and Letters and Engineering Alumni Affiliates.

Entertainment icon Katie Holmes to deliver commencement address May 4

Katie Holmes, a native Toledoan who rose to fame as an actor, producer and director, will return to her hometown to deliver the keynote address during The University of Toledo’s undergraduate commencement ceremony Saturday, May 4.

A Notre Dame Academy alumna and international icon of screen, stage and film, Holmes will address 2,078 candidates for degrees — 2,023 bachelor’s and 55 associate’s candidates. The event will take place at 10 a.m. in the Glass Bowl.

The University’s graduate commencement ceremony is scheduled the same day at 3 p.m. in the Glass Bowl, and will commemorate 915 candidates for doctoral, education specialist and master’s degrees, as well as graduate certificates. Analese Alvarez, an educator and musician who has recorded with the Grammy Award-winning rock group Fleetwood Mac, will be the keynote speaker. She is a candidate for a doctoral degree.

Both ceremonies are open to the public and can be viewed live on the University Views website.

President Sharon L. Gaber will present Holmes with an honorary doctor of humane letters degree before the keynote address.

“The University of Toledo is pleased to welcome Katie Holmes as our commencement speaker to inspire our newest alumni as they celebrate receiving their degrees,” Gaber said. “As a Toledo native with close, personal connections to the University, we are eager for her to share her experiences and accomplishments in the entertainment industry and as an entrepreneur and philanthropist.”

Holmes

Holmes is an internationally recognized film and television actor, producer and director, as well as a Broadway actor and an entrepreneur.

An exceptional student at Notre Dame Academy, Holmes was accepted to Columbia University, but deferred to embark on an entertainment career. She made her feature film debut in “The Ice Storm” in 1997, then established herself as a rising young actor the next year in the television show “Dawson’s Creek.” For six years, she played Joey Potter, a character still recognized in pop culture.

Holmes has appeared in supporting or starring roles in more than 30 films and television programs, including acclaimed performances as Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy in “The Kennedys” and “The Kennedys: After Camelot,” Hannah Green in “Wonder Boys,” Rachel Dawson in “Batman Begins,” April Burns in “Pieces of April,” Rita Carmichael in “All We Had,” and Paige Finney in “Ray Donovan.”

Her credits as a director and producer include “All We Had,” “Touched With Fire,” “The Romantics” and “The Kennedys: Decline and Fall.”

Holmes made her Broadway debut in a revival of Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” in 2008 and played the role of Lorna in “Dead Accounts” in 2012.

As an entrepreneur, Holmes managed and designed a well-received fashion line, Holmes & Yang, with Jeanne Yang, from 2009 to 2014.

Her philanthropic efforts include the Dizzy Feet Foundation, an organization Holmes co-founded in 2009 that increases access to dance education in the United States. She also supports the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes; Love Our Children USA, a national nonprofit organization that fights violence and neglect against U.S. children; Raising Malawi, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to helping vulnerable children in extreme poverty through health, education and community support; and the Motion Picture and Television Fund Foundation.

Alvarez

Graduate ceremony speaker Alvarez has been an educator for nearly two decades and is a candidate for an education doctorate in educational administration and supervision.

The Santa Barbara, Calif., native has enjoyed an outstanding career teaching high school music, highlighted by leading her previous school’s music department to become a Grammy Signature Schools recipient in 2015. She has continued teaching music while pursuing her doctorate at UToledo by serving as a graduate assistant for the Rocket Marching Band and athletic bands since 2015.

Alvarez”s long career as a musician includes recording with Fleetwood Mac on “The Dance” and appearances on “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” and Nickelodeon’s “The Big Help.” She also was a member of the Los Angeles Laker Band, a subset of the University of Southern California’s Trojan Marching Band. She has performed with numerous professional ensembles, including The Desert Winds and the Gold Coast Wind Ensemble.

A volunteer club advisor for Gay Straight Alliances, Alvarez co-chaired the Southern Nevada chapter of the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network and served the Gay and Lesbian Center of Las Vegas. During the past year, she has been executive director at Equality Toledo, where she has worked to support the local community.

Alvarez earned a bachelor of music degree from the University of Southern California and a master of music degree from Northern Arizona University, both in music education.

UToledo’s spring commencement ceremonies will recognize graduates from the colleges of Arts and Letters; Business and Innovation; Judith Herb College of Education; Engineering; Graduate Studies; Health and Human Services; Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Nursing; Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and University College.

UToledo’s College of Law will host its commencement ceremony Sunday, May 5, at 1 p.m. in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium. Angelita Cruz Bridges, a 2000 graduate of the College of Law who serves as an assistant United States attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, will give the commencement address.

The next week — Friday, May 10, at 4 p.m. — the College of Medicine and Life Sciences will hold its commencement ceremony in Savage Arena. Dr. Scott Parazynski, a physician and inventor whose career included serving 17 years as an astronaut, during which time he flew five space shuttle missions and conducted seven spacewalks, will be theutoledo.edu/commencementrmation, visit the commencement website.

Faculty recognized for tenure, promotion

The University of Toledo Board of Trustees approved during its April meeting tenure for 12 faculty members and promotion of another 31 associate professors and professors.

“We continue to have high-caliber faculty advancing through our tenure and promotion process, and this year’s cohort of faculty members all have very impressive achievements,” said Dr. Karen Bjorkman, interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

The provost also noted the goal in the strategic plan to increase the percentage of professors among the total number of full-time faculty. There were 22 who became fully promoted to professor with the board’s recent action.

Faculty members who received tenure and promotion to associate professor are:

College of Business and Innovation

• Dr. Xinghao Yan, Information, Operations and Technology Management

• Dr. Marcelo Alvarado-Vargas, Management

College of Engineering

• Dr. Carmen Cioc, Engineering Technology

• Dr. Luis Mata, Engineering Technology

College of Health and Human Services

• Dr. Kimberly McBride, School of Population Health

• Dr. Shipra Singh, School of Population Health

• Dr. Heather Sloane, School of Social Justice

College of Medicine and Life Sciences

• Dr. Nezam Altorok, Medicine

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

• Dr. Trieu Le, Mathematics and Statistics

College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

• Dr. Isaac Schiefer, Medicinal and Biological Chemistry

• Dr. F. Scott Hall, Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics

• Dr. Amit Tiwari, Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics

Faculty members promoted to professor are:

College of Arts and Letters

• Dr. Melissa Gregory, English Language and Literature

• Dr. Bhuiyan Alam, Geography and Planning

• Dr. Charles Beatty, History

• Dr. Lee Heritage, Music

• Dr. Ovamir Anjum, Philosophy and Religious Studies

• Dr. Patricia Case, Sociology and Anthropology

• Dr. Willie McKether, Sociology and Anthropology

College of Business and Innovation

• Dr. Iryna Pentina, Marketing

College of Engineering

• Dr. Yakov Lapitsky, Chemical Engineering

• Dr. Hong Wang, Engineering Technology

• Dr. Matthew Franchetti, Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

College of Health and Human Services

• Dr. Wendy Cochrane, School of Intervention and Wellness

• Dr. Jiunn-Jye Sheu, School of Population Health

• Dr. Kasey Tucker-Gail, School of Social Justice

College of Law

• Bryan Lammon

College of Medicine and Life Sciences

• Dr. Cletus Iwuagwu, Medicine

• Dr. Ruby Nucklos, Medicine

• Dr. Tanvir Singh, Psychiatry

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

• Dr. John Gray, Biological Sciences

• Dr. Dragan Isailovic, Chemistry and Biochemistry

• Dr. Alessandro Arsie, Mathematics and Statistics

College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

• Dr. Zahoor Shah, Medicinal and Biological Chemistry

Faculty members promoted to associate professor are:

College of Medicine and Life Sciences

• Dr. Sarah Gerken, Anesthesiology

• Dr. Anu Garg, Medicine

• Dr. Dani Zoorob, Obstetrics and Gynecology

• Dr. Jiayong Liu, Orthopaedic Surgery

• Dr. Waseem Ostwani, Pediatrics

• Dr. Eileen Quinn, Pediatrics

• Dr. Richard Baron, Psychiatry

• Dr. Kimberly Hunter, Psychiatry

• Dr. Jason Schroeder, Surgery

Faculty, staff members honored for advising, research, teaching, outreach work

University outstanding advisors, researchers and teachers, and recipients of the Edith Rathbun Award for Outreach and Engagement, were recognized last week.

Kupresanin

Recipients of the Outstanding Advisor Award were:

Max Kupresanin, academic advisor in University College. He received bachelor of arts and master of public administration degrees from the University and worked at his alma mater as a teaching assistant in 2009 and 2010 before joining the staff in 2014.

“Students put their trust in Max that he will be able to guide them down the path of exploratory studies and into a major that works for them,” one nominator wrote. “As a UToledo grad himself, he knows how campus life and academic life merge to create challenges for students. Max makes sure his students always know he is available with questions and concerns — whether they are about advising or not.” Another noted, “Max thoroughly enjoys working with students. Max is visibly passionate about our student population. He is frequently seen in Rocket Hall walking students to Financial Aid, Student Disability Services and the Counseling Center.”

Kissoff

Dr. Nicholas V. Kissoff, associate professor of engineering technology and undergraduate director of the Construction Engineering Technology Program in the College of Engineering. He joined the faculty in 1999. Kissoff received bachelor and master of science degrees in civil engineering and a doctorate in engineering science from the University.

“Working one on one with all students, whether they are straight out of high school or a transfer student like myself, Dr. Kissoff provides a game plan of classes that is easily laid out so the student can set forth short- and long-term goals to help attain the main goal of graduating with the construction of engineering degree,” one nominator wrote. “He provides all resources available to his students from the inception in the Construction Engineering Technology Program. He informs the students of all possibilities within the program, and steps and tips to help us long after we graduate to be successful engineers.”

Recipients of the Outstanding Research and Scholarship Award were:

Dr. Christopher Cooper, executive vice president for clinical affairs and dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences. The cardiologist joined the Medical College of Ohio in 1994. Cooper was appointed interim chair of the Department of Medicine in 2012 and was named to the permanent post in April 2013. From 2002 to 2012, he served as chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, and from 2008 to 2011, he also was director of the UToledo Heart and Vascular Center. He was named medical dean in 2014. Cooper has 95 peer-reviewed publications in print.

“Dr. Cooper is a gifted and rigorous scientist whose research has truly changed the paradigm in the field of hypertension and cardiac research. His innovative work has shifted the focus from the heart to the kidneys as an important and significant and treatable contributor to illness burden in hypertension, renal failure and cardiac events,” a nominator wrote. “Many patients’ lives will be saved, and much future understanding of the complex interactions between the kidney, the heart and vascular disease has been opened up as a result of his extensive body of research.”

Dr. Youssef Sari, professor and vice chair of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics, and professor of medicinal and biological chemistry in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. He joined the University in 2010. Sari has published nearly 100 peer-reviewed articles.

His research has contributed significantly to the field of drugs of abuse, including alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamine and nicotine; currently, he is focusing on the neuropharmacology of opioid addiction. Sari’s research involves investigating potential therapeutic drugs for the treatment of drugs of abuse. He was the first investigator to demonstrate that two key transporters can be potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of drugs of abuse, specifically in alcohol dependence. In addition, he has tested and found several drugs that have the ability to increase the expression and functionality of these transporters in animal models. The long-term goal of Sari’s research is to find potential therapeutic agents for the treatment of patients suffering from addiction to these drugs of abuse. “In my 40-plus years [in higher education], I’ve not known anyone who works harder and is more focused on drug and alcohol research, including mechanisms of neurotoxicity, than Youssef,” one nominator wrote. “He is at the cutting edge of his field and looks to be a research leader for many years to come.”

Dr. Jami K. Taylor, professor of political science and public administration in the College of Arts and Letters. Since joining the UToledo faculty in 2009, she has become a respected scholar on transgender politics and public policy with an impressive list of accomplishments: authoring a book and editing a book that were both published by the University of Michigan Press; writing 14 peer-reviewed articles and 11 book chapters; and serving as an associate editor for an encyclopedia of LGBT politics that is being published by Oxford University Press.

“Professor Taylor’s work is path-breaking, widely cited and influential. She has established a substantial national reputation as the leading scholar of transgender rights policy in just 10 years at UToledo,” one nominator wrote. Another wrote, “Dr. Taylor is the country’s single highest regarded scholar working on transgender public policy; she is also a nationally recognized expert in the broader political science subfield of LGBT politics. A quick glance at her CV helps explain why this is the case: She is at once a prolific scholar, producing an enormous amount of peer-reviewed publications each year, and also produces work of such high quality that it is accepted for publication in highly regarded journals and presses and cited frequently by other scholars in our subfield.”

Receiving Outstanding Research and Scholarship Awards were, from left, Dr. Christopher Cooper, Dr. Jami K. Taylor and Dr. Youssef Sari.

Bellizzi

Recipients of the Edith Rathbun Award for Outreach and Engagement were:

Dr. John Bellizzi, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and Dr. Joe Schmidt, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

They are coordinators of Saturday Morning Science, a public outreach lecture series covering diverse topics in science, medicine and engineering, ranging from the physics of baseball to the Flint water crisis to the search for extrasolar planets. The program began in 2005; Schmidt took over coordinating the series in 2008, and Bellizzi has been co-director since 2011. “Over the past six years, attendance has grown dramatically from a small grassroots following to an average audience approaching 150 attendees per presentation,” one nominator wrote, noting the series has relocated twice to accommodate the growing numbers. Speakers include UToledo faculty and other academic researchers, NASA scientists, best-selling authors, and staff members of the Toledo Zoo, Toledo Refinery, and National Museum of the Great Lakes.

Schmidt

“This kind of scientific outreach benefits all participants,” a nominator wrote. “Researchers and other presenters get the satisfaction of sharing their experience and their passion while honing a distinct set of communication skills to make their presentation understandable by a nontechnical audience. Audience members gain knowledge, insight and inspiration. It is the intention of the program to broaden public awareness, literacy and appreciation of the methods and results of science in the hopes of encouraging students to enter scientific careers and citizens to support policies that promote scientific research and discovery.”

Recipients of the Outstanding Teacher Award were:

Dr. John Bellizzi, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. He joined the UToledo faculty in 2008.

“Dr. Bellizzi is the man,” one nominator wrote. “I really have a genuine respect for him. Intelligent, passionate and fair — that’s the type of professor he is. Biochemistry is a difficult course, but he really made me love it. He understands the material and breaks it down for us in ways to comprehend. Things he taught me stuck with me because he teaches in a manner that allows you to understand the material not just memorize it.” Another noted, “He is outstanding not only that he teaches well, but he is always well-prepared. I could always approach him whenever needed to solve any problems related to fields of studies. He will always try to help even though he is not teaching you in the semester. He is a gentleman and deserves to be an outstanding teacher.”

Dr. Jetsabe Cáceres, associate professor of political science and public administration, and director of the Global Studies Program in the College of Arts and Letters. She has been at the University since 2011.

“Dr. Cáceres is one of the most personable, influential faculty members at the University. I had the pleasure to attend her Principles of Comparative Politics course; it was a rather black-and-white course, but she taught it in such a colorful, lively way. She recognizes students’ strengths and weaknesses early on and determines strategies for their betterment,” one nominator wrote. Another wrote, “Jetsa has exhibited compassion and care for not only me, but many students. She has helped me become a better student by motivating me to work toward my goals.” Another wrote, “Jetsa is the professor every student wishes to have and the mentor a person needs; she is an admirable person.”

Dr. Mohammad Elahinia, professor and chair of mechanical, industrial and manufacturing engineering in the College of Engineering. A member of the UToledo faculty since 2004, Elahnia is director of the Dynamic and Smart Systems Laboratory.

“I was told by three teachers that I would never make it in engineering,” a nominator wrote. “Then I took a class taught by Dr. Elahinia. I had never had a teacher explain complex material so thoroughly and in a way that everyone could understand. He would stop and ask those who struggled how he could change his method to help them. I have never had a more attentive professor. His belief in me gave me confidence that I belong in engineering. That confidence and belief in me shaped my career. I am a mechanical design engineer for a global company in its research and development department. I know Dr. Elahinia has helped more students than just myself; he is deserving of this award.”

Dr. Karen Green, assistant professor of accounting in the College of Business and Innovation. She has taught at the University since 2015.

“Dr. Green has been a catalyst in the Accounting Department,” one nominator wrote. “She solely developed a new Certified Public Accountant review course that allows master of accounting students to complete their CPA exams. This is a distinguishing characteristic of the program.” “With Dr. Green’s guidance, many students have the competitive advantage of simultaneously testing for the CPA and earning a master’s degree, both before diving into our careers, and we know this is a luxury not available to many young professionals in the accounting field,” another wrote. “Dr. Green is more than a professor; she has become a trusted advisor, cheerleader and reliable friend to all of us. She provides support, guidance, encouragement and direction to all students who cross her path.”

Bryan Lammon, associate professor of law. He joined the College of Law in 2013.

“I have had Professor Lammon for several classes, and I cannot say enough positive words for how he conducts his class sessions,” one nominator wrote. “He actively engages with all of his students and makes the extra effort to ensure that everyone has a complete understanding of the lectures before moving on. His classroom demeanor is always personable and professional, which makes going to his classses that much more enjoyable.” Another noted, “He has an excellent work ethic, is a great teacher, and he is very friendly, yet with a professional attitude.” “Professor Lammon is one of the most approachable professors I’ve encountered. He is so passionate about the subjects he teaches and it truly shows each class,” another wrote. “It is very clear that he truly enjoys watching his students succeed.”

Dr. Heather Sloane, assistant professor of social work in the School of Social Justice in the College of Health and Human Services. She joined the UToledo faculty in 2008.

“Dr. Sloane is a perfect example of what a social worker looks like,” one nominator wrote. “She is patient, kind and sincere in all of our encounters, and she is juggling several different projects with grace and a positive attitude.” “Dr. Sloane is such a loving, thoughtful, selfless professor,” another nominator wrote. “She goes over and beyond to ensure the needs of the students are met.” “Despite all her accomplishments, Heather never acknowledges her success and doesn’t give herself the credit she deserves,” another noted. “She is a behind-the-scenes person and the reason why so many things exist. She is the definition of humility. She deserves this award more than I can express.”

Taking home Outstanding Teacher Awards were, from left, Dr. Mohammad Elahinia, Bryan Lammon, Dr. Heather Sloane, Dr. John Bellizzi, Dr. Karen Green and Dr. Jetsabe Cáceres.

Three Distinguished University Professors named

Three scholars have been added to the rank of Distinguished University Professor in recognition of their career achievements in teaching, research and professional service.

The faculty members named Distinguished University Professor were approved and recognized by the UToledo Board of Trustees at its April meeting. They are Dr. Christopher Cooper, dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, and executive vice president for clinical affairs; Dr. Ashok Kumar, professor and chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; and Dr. Celia Williamson, professor of social work and executive director of the Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute.

Distinguished University Professors named this month were, from left, Dr. Celia Williamson, Dr. Christopher Cooper and Dr. Ashok Kumar.

“It is our privilege to recognize these individuals with The University of Toledo’s highest permanent honor bestowed upon a faculty member,” said Dr. Karen Bjorkman, interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “Each of these professors is recognized as an outstanding teacher, researcher and professional who has made a great impact on the students who they have mentored and in advancing their fields of study.”

Cooper is an internationally recognized researcher in reno-vascular hypertension and ischemic renal disease. He was the principal investigator on a $20 million grant from the National Institutes of Health in which the team found that stents provided no additional benefits to patients with kidney-related high blood pressure than medication alone, which could lead to fewer surgeries and lower treatment costs. The results were published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Cooper joined the faculty of the UToledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences, then the Medical College of Ohio, in 1994. Throughout his career, he has secured more than $25 million in external research funding and authored or co-authored 96 peer-reviewed articles and nine book chapters.

“As a University of Toledo faculty member, I have been blessed with a number of fantastic mentors, collaborators and trainees, and together we’ve done some exciting things,” Cooper said. “Now my major focus is to create an environment where others can do that, too.”

Cooper is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology, Fellow of the American Heart Association and Fellow of the American College of Physicians.

Kumar is recognized internationally for the development of innovative software and paradigm-shifting methodologies related to air quality and risk assessment to solve complex environmental problems. With a focus on air pollution, Kumar has advanced the understanding of the air quality impact due to public transportation buses running on biodiesel and issues with radon mitigation systems in Ohio.

Kumar, who has been a member of the UToledo College of Engineering faculty since 1980, has received more than $5.5 million in external funding, and authored or co-authored more than 200 articles and eight books.

“I am proud to be recognized as a Distinguished Professor of the finest university in the area,” Kumar said. “Very few things in life are entirely the work of one individual. This recognition is no exception. This achievement is thanks to a lot of other people’s hard work. Everyone, from the graduate students to funding agencies to fellow professionals and publishers, deserves credit for recognizing my efforts in the field of air pollution.”

Kumar also has received UToledo’s President’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to University Scholarship and Creative Activity. He is an honorary member of the Air & Waste Management Association.

Williamson’s pioneering research on human sex trafficking, the prostitution of women and children globally, and mental health and substance abuse counseling needs for vulnerable populations is recognized internationally.

She founded the International Human Trafficking and Social Justice Conference, which has welcomed to campus thousands of academics and activists from around the world for the past 15 years to end abuse through education, research and advocacy.

Williamson also is the founder of the Second Chance Program, now called RISE, which is the first anti-trafficking program in Ohio, as well as the Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition, the National Research Consortium on Commercial Sexual Exploitation, and the Global Association of Human Trafficking Scholars.

“I am both thankful and grateful for this recognition, and I will continue the important anti-trafficking work that needs to be done in our community and around the world,” Williamson said.

She has been a faculty member in the UToledo College of Health and Human Services since 2000 and has received more than $2 million in external funding, and published two co-authored books, two book chapters and 21 peer-reviewed articles.

Also an alumna of UToledo, Williamson has received the University’s Gold T Award and the Edith Rathbun Outreach and Engagement Excellence Award.

Distinguished University Lecturers announced

Three Distinguished University Lecturers recently were named in honor of their exemplary teaching, support of student success, and demonstration of their commitment to UToledo’s educational mission.

The newest Distinguished University Lecturers, who were approved and recognized by the Board of Trustees April 15, are:

Distinguished University Lecturers named this month were, from left, Linda Beall, Dr. Martin Ohlinger and Dr. Sibylle Weck-Schwarz.

• Linda Beall of the Engineering Technology Department in the College of Engineering;

• Dr. Martin Ohlinger of the Pharmacy Practice Department and clinical associate professor in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and

• Dr. Sibylle Weck-Schwarz of the Mathematics and Statistics Department in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

“Being named a Distinguished University Lecturer is the highest honor the institution can bestow upon a lecturer,” said Dr. Karen Bjorkman, interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “This honorary title is given in recognition of lecturers who excel in advancing the University’s educational mission and facilitating student success. They play such an important role in these areas, and we are very proud of the outstanding work that they do.”

Beall joined the University faculty in 2000. She served as interim chair of the Engineering Technology Department from 2016 to 2019. Beall is a board member for the Toledo Design Center and a member of the Toledo Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, as well as a member of the American Institute of Architects Engage Studio. She was the designer for 13 local and regional projects since 2002, and has been a consultant, expert witness and designer for local and national architectural firms. Her consistently positive teaching evaluations demonstrate success in translating her extensive professional experience to the classroom.

“One of the great pleasures of teaching in Engineering Technology, and one which elicits a positive response from my students, has been the opportunity to both teach and engage in professional practice simultaneously, giving me the ability to bring active professional practice into the classroom and teaching and mentoring of interns into the office,” Beall said. “I am grateful to both all my students for being responsive to this aspect of my teaching as well as the generosity of the architectural firms who have given me great flexibility in my schedule as well as my role in their organization.”

Ohlinger came to the University in 2000. He is director of the Critical Care Pharmacy Resideny Program, a clinical pharmacy specialist in Surgical Critical Care at UToledo Medical Center, and director of the Honors Program in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Ohlinger was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Critical Care Medicine (2013) and into the Phi Lambda Sigma Pharmacy Leadership Society (2017) and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society (2015). His teaching evaluations reflect the success of his experiential teaching and bedside-to-classroom approach, in which he brings real cases to students, and show his impact on students’ lives.

“I am both honored and humbled to be recognized as a Distinguished University Lecturer,” Ohlinger said. “This recognition is really a testament to the amazing faculty, staff, administration, students and patients I’ve been fortunate enough to work with, teach, and serve at this great university for nearly 20 years.”

Weck-Schwarz joined the University faculty in 1989. She is the assistant director of the Math Learning and Resource Center. Weck-Schwarz received the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Award for Excellence in Teaching (2014-15) and was nominated for The University of Toledo’s Outstanding Teacher Award (2013). She has developed courses; played a leading role in the department in enhancing teaching with technology; collaborated on the design of the College Algebra Camp and the Trigonometry Summer Camp; designed and programmed algorithmically generated online homework questions and feedback; and facilitated the departmental pro-seminar on teaching college mathematics.

“I love teaching. It energizes me to communicate with my students, who are so full of passion and dreams. I am awed to think of them as the doctors, engineers, researchers, inventors, educators of the future,” Weck-Schwarz said. “As every teacher will tell you, one of the most rewarding experiences of teaching is seeing the first spark of understanding, seeing that light bulb go on. It is second only to hearing about students’ success — when they let me know that they have been admitted to medical school, or to the PharmD program, or are going to join a company producing medical devices — and feeling that I have contributed a little piece along the way to achieving their dreams.”

Students compete for chance to travel to NYC for Biodesign Challenge

On Wednesday, April 17, four groups of University of Toledo students will vie for the chance to compete at the International Biodesign Challenge in June in New York City.

Each group will go head to head at the Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion, where they will present their projects focusing on biotechnology and biomaterials that address complex global challenges.

The event will start at 6 p.m. with a preview of the students’ work, followed by group presentations at 7 p.m. A reception will start at 8 p.m., and the winner will be announced at 8:30 p.m.

The first group consists of art students Colin Chalmers and McKenzie Dunwald; bioengineering student Michael Socha; and environmental science student Ysabelle Yrad. Together, with assistance from Tamara Phares, instructional laboratory coordinator in the Bioengineering Department, they created an innovative solution to the problem of microplastics in the environment, working on a genetically modified plant that allows for an increased production of specific proteins.

Group two — art students Tyler Dominguez and Andrea Price; environmental science student Anna Pauken; and bioengineering student David Swain — are collaborating with Dr. John Gray, professor of biological sciences, to design a genetically modified plant with enhanced carbon sequestration, while improving soil quality and rainwater infiltration.

The third group is composed of art student Valerie White; bioengineering students Adam Kemp and Anthony Shaffer; and environmental science student Michala Burke. The four are creating a biological solution to indoor air quality issues utilizing emerging knowledge about the microbiome — micro-organisms in a particular environment.

Group four — bioengineering students Sherin Aburidi and Timothy Wolf; environmental science students Courtney Kinzel and Sarah Mattei; and art student Tyler Saner — is working with Dr. Von Sigler, professor of environmental sciences, to create a non-antibacterial resistant treatment for MRSA and other superbugs.

“The UToledo Biodesign Challenge Course offers students firsthand experience in interdisciplinary research and innovative prototype solutions to real-world issues,” said Brian Carpenter, assistant professor of art.

The class is offered to students majoring in art and design; bioengineering; and environmental science. It is taught by Carpenter and Eric Zeigler, assistant professor of art.

“By crossing philosophy, science, technology, art and design, students explore real-world problems and imagine alternative presentations of space, place, body and environment through interdisciplinary research,” Zeigler said.

Carpenter added, “We really want students to be inspired. We want students to think creatively about the solutions that are required to solve the pressing issues of our time.”

University to host panel on cybersecurity March 21

With the dawn of the digital age, cybersecurity has become ultra- important. Cases like Equifax and Target losing access to their customers’ private, personal data has business owners and IT managers scrambling to protect their companyʼs data.

The University of Toledo Launchpad Incubation program will host an event to tackle this topic Thursday, March 21, at 11:30 a.m. in Nitschke Technology Commercialization Complex Room 2075.

A panel series lunch-and-learn-style event to discuss business cybersecurity best practices will feature three guests:

• David Cutri, executive director of internal audit and chief compliance officer for The University of Toledo, and vice president of the northwest Ohio chapter of ISACA (formerly known as the Information Systems Audit and Control Association), a worldwide group of IT governance professionals;

• Dr. Jared Oluoch, assistant professor and program director of computer science and engineering technology in the University’s College of Engineering; and

• Brian Schrock, information security officer at First Federal Bank, will serve on
This program is part of Launchpad Incubationʼs Launch Hour series, a panel series where local experts share their business and specific experience to help business owners around the region. The panel will be moderated by Adam Salon, partner at JumpStart Inc.

The LaunchPad Incubation Program at The University of Toledo is northwest Ohio’s premier business startup and entrepreneurial assistance program for innovative and high-tech companies. Housed at a renowned public research university, LaunchPad Incubation is a pioneer for business development in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.

Register for the free event on the Launchpad Incubation website.

For more information, call the Launchpad Incubation program at 419.530.3520.

UToledo graduate programs jump in U.S. News rankings

The University of Toledo’s graduate programs are recognized among the best in the nation, according to the 2020 U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate Schools rankings.

The College of Nursing and College of Law, in particular, jumped dramatically in the most recent rankings released Tuesday.

The master’s degree in nursing jumped up to 135 from the previous year’s ranking of 183. The doctor of nursing is ranked 135 compared to 152 the previous year.

The full-time law program is now ranked 126. It had been 137 in the 2018 rankings.

“The significant increases in the U.S. News rankings in just one year reflect the University’s increasingly positive reputation and the progress we are making advancing our academic and research excellence,” President Sharon L. Gaber said. “We are proud of these rankings, but, more importantly, the outcomes they represent in student success, program quality and accomplished faculty.”

In addition to the nursing and law programs, UToledo’s graduate programs in education and social work moved up in the rankings. Education is now ranked 172 up from 176, and social work is listed as 196 up from 201 the previous year. In addition, the engineering graduate program is now ranked and listed as 148.

The College of Nursing attributes its dramatic 48-point jump in the master’s program and increase of 17 spots in the doctoral program to attracting a more qualified student applicant pool, increasing program accessibility for students, strong graduation rates, and a growing research profile for faculty.

“We are proud of the recognition for our outstanding programs, excellent students and talented faculty, who are leaders in clinical practice, teaching and research,” said Dr. Linda Lewandowski, dean of the College of Nursing.

The 11-point increase in the College of Law rankings reflects improved bar passage results and a higher employment rate 10 months after graduation.

“The reputation of Toledo Law continues to grow in recognition of our strong faculty and commitment to student success, which includes advanced bar exam preparation and career development initiatives,” said D. Benjamin Barros, dean of the College of Law.