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Bee proactive: UT students to compete in Biodesign Challenge in New York

A team of University of Toledo students is buzzing with excitement, preparing to compete against 29 schools in the Biodesign Challenge Summit in New York this month.

The four students will present “Apigiene Hive: Rethinking Bee Hygiene” at the international contest Thursday and Friday, June 21-22, at the Museum of Modern Art.

“We decided to focus on bees because of the recent problems with colony collapse disorder,” said Madeline Tomczak, who graduated with a bachelor of science degree in environmental science in May.

“And we simply found those tiny yellow-and-black insects adorable,” added Domenic Pennetta, a sophomore majoring in art. “By focusing on bees and their problems, we could help both bees and apiarists here in Ohio, and also have solutions that could potentially be used to benefit others around the globe.”

Solving problems creatively is what the Biodesign Challenge is all about. The Genspace NYC program offers college students the chance to envision future applications of biotechnology by working together interdisciplinarily.

At UT, the Biodesign Challenge class in spring semester brought together students majoring in art, bioengineering and environmental science, as well as peers from the Jesup Scott Honors College.

“The really wonderful part about participating in this challenge is it started with the students — they approached us about having the class,” Eric Zeigler, associate lecturer in the UT Department of Art, said.

“One thing we thought was paramount in teaching this class: We were their peers. We were in the trenches with the students, asking questions, learning together,” Brian Carpenter, lecturer and gallery director in the UT Department of Art, said. “It’s been so inspiring. I tell everyone this is my favorite class I’ve taken.”

Carpenter and Zeigler will travel with the team to the Big Apple, where the UT students will vie with teams from across the country, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, France, Guatemala, Japan and Scotland for awards, including the Animal-Free Wool Prize sponsored by PETA, Stella McCartney and Stray Dog Capital.

“These finalists were selected from a pool of 450 participants,” Daniel Grushkin, founder and director of the Biodesign Challenge, said. “I firmly believe that they are leading us into a sustainable future with their visions.”

Tomczak and Pennetta worked with Jesse Grumelot, who graduated in May with a bachelor of science degree in bioengineering, and Lucya Keune, a senior studying visual arts, to create additions for the popular Langstroth hive to fight one of the bees’ biggest foes: mites.

“A fibrous brush filled with zebra mussel diatoms will target Varroa destructor mites on the surface of adult bees,” Grumelot said. “In addition, mint-infused wax frames will eliminate Acarapis woodi mites, as well as Varroa destructor juveniles.”

“We researched the problem, talking to specialists and professionals, and focused on natural ways to give bees a better environment to thrive,” Keune said.

Part of that new environment includes placing a brush at the hive entrance to use what beekeepers call the sugar shake — but in a new way. To encourage bees to be more hygienic, beekeepers sometimes put powder sugar on the insects so they’ll clean off the sweet stuff — and the nasty Varroa destructor mites.

“We use powdered zebra mussel to increase hygiene behaviors, which in turn helps kill the mites,” Tomczak said.

The zebra mussel powder acts like diatomaceous earth, which, when crushed, can be used as a treatment for fleas and ticks on household pets.

“Since diatomaceous earth is often from oceanic rocks, we wanted to bring this part of the hive closer to home by looking at Lake Erie,” Tomczak said. “Zebra mussel shells are abundant and easy to collect, and can be ground down to a fine powder.”

The powder is then baked, sterilized, and made finer with a mortar and pestle. It will prompt the bees to clean up and get rid of the mites, and it will help kill any mites inside the hive.

And to tackle the Acarapis woodi mites, which invade the hive and lay eggs, the team turned to a natural deterrent: mint.

“We wanted to avoid the chemical sprays that can be harmful and stressful to the bee colony,” Keune said. “We learned mint is used to fight mites; it’s better for the bees and the honey.”

“Our new hive features starting frames of beeswax infused with natural corn mint and peppermint,” Grumelot said. “This method is a more accurate way to focus on the mite infestation, and it avoids spraying the entire hive, leaving the honey untouched and the bees happy.”

In New York, the UT students will present their project to more than 200 scientists, designers, entrepreneurs and artists.

“This is a great resumé-builder for our students,” Zeigler said. “Their design is economically feasible; beekeepers would just add two simple modifications to their existing hives. It’s a happy solution, and one that could have tremendous market impact all over the world.”

“This challenge is fantastic. It encourages students to think creatively, take risks, and gather science and data. They realize their designs can work,” Carpenter said.

“I hope that by participating in this challenge that others will begin to look at relevant issues critically and try to find better solutions in creative ways,” Pennetta said.

UT awarded $275,000 to help restore native fish habitat in Great Lakes shipping corridor

As part of a large-scale effort by state, national and international agencies to restore giant, ancient sturgeon and other native fish to the Great Lakes, the U.S. Geological Survey awarded The University of Toledo $275,000 for a yearlong project to study how well Lake St. Clair serves as nursery habitat for those species to spawn and grow.

Lake St. Clair, which connects Lake Huron to Lake Erie along with the Detroit River and St. Clair River, is 17 times smaller than Lake Ontario and sometimes referred to as the sixth Great Lake.

Mayer

“This is a critical habitat corridor that historically served as home to stocks of important native fish such as walleye, yellow perch, whitefish and sturgeon that migrated from Lake Erie to spawn,” said Dr. Christine Mayer, professor in the UT Department of Environmental Sciences and Lake Erie Center. “Our research will contribute to the ongoing multi-agency effort to restore fish habitat in this important Great Lakes passageway.”

Mayer said in the early 1900s, the corridor was altered to accommodate shipping and industry, resulting in the destruction of rocky and shallow areas needed for young fish to spawn, feed and grow safely.

“This research project will examine how young fish use habitat within Lake St. Clair and help create a more complete picture of what habitats are still impaired and how future restoration of key habitat features may increase productivity of native fish species,” Mayer said.

The research team is made up of aquatic ecologists in the UT Department of Environmental Sciences. The team is led by Dr. Robin DeBruyne, an assistant research professor, and includes Jason Fischer, a PhD student who has studied how fish use constructed reefs and softened shorelines, as well as how future reefs can be positioned to minimize sand infiltration and maximize the benefit to fish.

UT also is involved in the project to restore lake sturgeon to Lake Erie. Most recently, researchers helped the Toledo Zoo secure $90,000 in federal grant money to build a sturgeon rearing facility along the Maumee River, which flows into Lake Erie, by verifying that spawning and nursery habitat still exist in the Maumee River to sustain a population of the fish that can live to be 150 years old and grow up to 300 pounds and eight feet long.

Men may contribute to infertility through newly discovered part of sperm

Life doesn’t begin the way we thought it did.

A new study at The University of Toledo shows that a father donates not one, but two centrioles through the sperm during fertilization, and the newly discovered sperm structure may contribute to infertility, miscarriages and birth defects.

The newly discovered centriole functions similarly and along with the known centriole. However, it is structured differently.

Dr. Tomer Avidor-Reiss and Lilli Fishman worked on the study titled “A Novel Atypical Sperm Centriole is Functional During Human Fertilization,” which was published in Nature Communications.

“This research is significant because abnormalities in the formation and function of the atypical centriole may be the root of infertility of unknown cause in couples who have no treatment options available to them,” said Dr. Tomer Avidor-Reiss, professor in the UT Department of Biological Sciences. “It also may have a role in early pregnancy loss and embryo development defects.”

The centriole is the only essential cellular structure contributed solely by the father. It is the origin of all of the centrioles in the trillions of cells that make up the adult human body. Centrioles are essential for building the cell’s antennae, known as cilia, and cytoskeleton, as well as completing accurate cell division.

A zygote, or fertilized egg cell, needs two centrioles to start life. It was previously thought that sperm provides a single centriole to the egg and then duplicates itself.

“Since the mother’s egg does not provide centrioles, and the father’s sperm possesses only one recognizable centriole, we wanted to know where the second centriole in zygotes comes from,” Avidor-Reiss said. “We found the previously elusive centriole using cutting-edge techniques and microscopes. It was overlooked in the past because it’s completely different from the known centriole in terms of structure and protein composition.”

The atypical centriole contains a small core set of proteins needed for the known sperm centriole to form a fully functional centriole after fertilization in the zygote using the egg’s proteins.

This discovery may provide new avenues for diagnostics and therapeutic strategies for male infertility and insights into early embryo developmental defects, according to the research titled “A Novel Atypical Sperm Centriole is Functional During Human Fertilization” that was published June 7 in Nature Communications.

In addition to human sperm, Avidor-Reiss and his research team studied the sperm of flies, beetles and cattle.

“The whole idea for this study started with the fly,” said Lilli Fishman, UT PhD candidate, who is being honored with the 2018 Lalor Foundation Merit Award from the Society for the Study of Reproduction for her work on the project. “Basic fly research indicated the misconception in sperm structure. It has been incredible to be part of the ensuing process that included incredible scientists from four states and two countries.”

The leading-edge techniques and microscopes used on this research include super-resolution microscopy; electron microscopy with high-pressure freezing; and correlative light and electron microscopy.

“The super-resolution microscopy was critical for this discovery,” Avidor-Reiss said. “The technology allows you to see proteins at the highest resolution.”
The University of Toronto, National Cancer Institute, the University of Michigan, and the University of Pittsburgh also contributed to the research.

Avidor-Reiss and his team are taking this research to the clinical level.

“We are working with the Urology Department at The University of Toledo Medical Center to study the clinical implications of the atypical centriole to figure out if it’s associated with infertility and what kind of infertility,” Avidor-Reiss said.

UT researchers discover lizards immediately adjust sun-basking behavior to offset warmer temperatures

When in Rome, lizards do as the Romans do.

A team of scientists and students at The University of Toledo found that desert short-horned lizards in southeastern Utah immediately adjust sun-basking behavior to offset warmer temperatures or minimize exposure to dangerous heat, according to climate change research published in the scientific journal Functional Ecology.

This short-horned lizard sported a data logger that continuously recorded light levels in different environments in the Abajo Mountains in Utah. UT researchers found the reptiles immediately adjusted sun-basking behavior to offset warmer temperatures or minimize exposure to dangerous heat.

The study conducted in the Abajo Mountains, a small, isolated range near the town of Monticello, in July and August 2016 shows that the ectotherms, or cold-blooded animals whose body temperatures are the same as the environment around them, find levels of shade or sun to match the local lizard population when transplanted between cool and warm sites.

“Individual lizards are able to adjust their sun-basking behavior to compensate for a different climate,” said Dr. Jeanine Refsnider, herpetologist and assistant professor in the UT Department of Environmental Sciences. “This is critical because it is a way that lizards can respond immediately to changes in environmental conditions.”

Refsnider said this flexibility is one way that lizards and other ectotherms might survive at least small amounts of climate change and avoid extinction.

“It’s a much faster response than evolutionary adaptation, which occurs over multiple generations,” Refsnider said.

The UT research team posed for a photo at Canyonlands Research Center near Monticello, Utah. They are, from left, Sarah Carter, Tyara Vazquez, Dr. Henry Streby, Ian Clifton, Adam Siefker and Dr. Jeanine Refsnider, who is holding Sora Streby.

The UT team attached to the lizards data loggers that continuously record light levels to measure and analyze how much time the reptiles spent basking in full sun, sitting in a shrub, or buried underground at warm and cool sites on a mountain. Then the scientists transplanted lizards to the opposite site for a week so that they were exposed to a new climate.

Once the light-level recordings were done, the team recaptured the lizards, downloaded the data and returned them to their home sites.

“We found that transplanted lizards immediately adjusted their light-level use to match local lizards,” Refsnider said. “That means light-level use, one type of thermoregulatory behavior or way to regulate their temperature, is a highly flexible behavior. Our results provide hope that lizards may respond to climate change by adjusting the amount of time they spend in different light environments in order to compensate for warmer environmental temperatures.”

Refsnider said this UT study is unique compared to previous studies trying to predict effects of climate change on lizards because the team used lizards living in desert habitat, as opposed to tropical lizard species.

“Tropical lizard species normally experience fairly constant but very warm climates,” Refsnider said. “We focused on lizards living at high elevations in the desert that experience an extremely wide range of temperatures — from well below freezing in the winter that requires hibernation to pretty hot conditions in the summer similar to those experienced by tropical species.”

The UT authors of the published research include three professors, two graduate students and two undergraduate students. The faculty members are Refsnider; Dr. Henry Streby, ecologist and assistant professor in the UT Department of Environmental Sciences; and Dr. Song Qian, an environmental and ecological statistician and associate professor in the UT Department of Environmental Sciences. The graduate students are Ian Clifton and Tyara Vazquez. The undergraduate students are Adam Siefker and Sarah Carter.

12-year-old UT student creates faster, cheaper way to make pharmaceutical drugs, agricultural pesticides

Like many 12-year-olds, Daniel Liu enjoys reading books and wears T-shirts covered in cartoon characters.

Unlike most boys and girls his age, Liu has been honored at the White House for his science achievements and is now a published scientific researcher at The University of Toledo.

Liu

The Ottawa Hills High School student has been taking classes at UT for more than a year through Ohio’s College Credit Plus program.

Liu is one of three members of a UT green chemistry lab team that created a chemical reaction that results in a faster, cheaper, more environmentally friendly way to make pharmaceutical drugs and agrochemicals, such as pesticides and herbicides.

The team’s research, which was recently published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, shows how carbon dioxide in the form of dry ice is used to break up carbon-hydrogen bonds, reactions known as C-H activation.

“We showed that we could run this reaction with many different starting materials and produce very diverse products,” said Liu, a co-author on the paper.

“When you take an unreactive carbon-hydrogen bond, which is found in most organic compounds, and break it to convert it into a new type of bond, you make new molecules more quickly and more sustainably, especially in pharmaceutical and agrochemical molecules,” said Dr. Michael Young, assistant professor in the UT Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

That means, much like Liu’s skyrocketing academic journey, you skip grades or steps in the process, reducing the time and resources it takes to achieve results.

“This chemical reaction cuts up to five steps out of a process that normally takes six or seven,” Liu said. “C-H activation also improves overall synthetic efficiency. We found a way to potentially help patients, farmers and the environment when it comes to how medicine and pesticides are made.”

Daniel Liu worked in the lab with Dr. Michael Young, left, and Dr. Mohit Kapoor.

Dr. Mohit Kapoor, UT postdoctoral researcher in medicinal and sustainable chemistry, said Liu has demonstrated an incredible ability to learn and discover at the collegiate level.

“I now see him as a co-worker in my lab. He is a genius and a prodigy,” Kapoor said. “But I remember in the beginning thinking, ‘How could he handle all these things?’ He has proven that he has the knowledge. He can do the work properly and learns quickly.”

“While this is highly unusual, Daniel has unusual talent and great support from his parents,” Young said. “He has already taken most of the junior-level course work in the chemistry program. While he doesn’t have the emotional maturity or physical stature of an older student, he is intellectually advanced compared to his peers.”

Young, Kapoor and Liu are the three authors of the research paper. The scientists say Liu was involved in every step of the project, investing more than 400 hours of work.

“Daniel made many of the starting materials for the reactions and also performed many of the key reactions. He also remade the compounds to validate that we could do this, help make enough of them to characterize them, and prove they were what we said they were,” Young said. “Plus, he helped us craft the manuscript. He went through and made suggestions on how to present our work.”

UT has filed a provisional patent on the work, and the team is looking to market to pharmaceutical companies that make generic drugs.

“We’re excited about the potential to commercialize this because it is much cheaper and more easily recyclable,” Young said. “This really could be a benefit to the synthetic community.”

Liu’s passion lies in developing new pharmaceutical drugs to help people fight different diseases.

“I feel like this is the start of a career, and hopefully I can do more of this research in the future,” Liu said. “I’m starting work on a couple of these projects by myself. I simply want to help people.”

Liu started high school at the age of 10.

In 2016, Liu visited the White House and met President Barack Obama after winning the national “You Be the Chemist” challenge — defeating 30,000 other students. He was the youngest ever to win the Chemical Education Foundation’s competition.

Recently, he received high honors in the National Chemistry Olympiad.

Liu also is assistant principal cellist in the University orchestra. It’s one way he has become involved in UT’s vibrant, diverse campus.

“I had an adjustment period, but this is normal to me now,” Liu said. “I feel at home here and supported in my studies. I’m trying to take advantage of all that UT has to offer so I can keep learning and growing. I want to go to graduate school. I’m also considering medical school. I want to do more stuff that changes the world and helps people.”

Global climate disruption topic of June 5 lecture at University

A lecture discussing climate change and global climate disruption will take place Tuesday, June 5, at The University of Toledo.

Dr. Andy Jorgensen, UT associate professor emeritus of chemistry, will present this lecture at 6 p.m. in the Driscoll Alumni Center Schmakel Room.

Jorgensen

He will provide background information about global climate disruption and the human dimension of the problem.

“Attendees will get an idea of the changes in the climate during recent years, as well as the reasons and consequences of these changes,” Jorgensen said. “The last part of the talk will be about what can be done to reduce the negative impacts of climate change.”

Actions that the community can take to combat and reduce climate change include reducing waste, recycling, and driving less, Jorgensen said.

He is a Senior Fellow at the National Council for Science and the Environment. He developed climate change curricular materials that have been featured in a web-based repository titled Climate Adaption Mitigation E-Learning with more than 300 resources. Both NASA and the Natural Science Foundation have provided grants in support of his climate research.

For his efforts to educate the public on climate change, Jorgensen was one of the 2017 recipients of UT’s Edith Rathbun Award for Outreach and Engagement.

Those who wish to attend the free, public discussion are asked to make reservations by Friday, June 1.

To register for the event, click here or call the Office of Alumni and Annual Engagement at 419.530.2586.

Faculty members receive promotion, tenure

A number of faculty members received tenure and promotion for the 2017-18 academic year approved in April by the UT Board of Trustees.

Faculty members who received tenure were:

College of Law
• Michelle Cavalieri
• Bryan Lammon

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

College of Arts and Letters
• Daniel Hernandez, Art
• Dr. Thor Mednick, Art
• Dr. Liat Ben-Moshe, Disability Studies
• Dr. Jason Levine, Psychology
• Daniel Thobias, Theatre and Film

College of Business and Innovation
• Dr. Kainan Wang, Finance
• Dr. Joseph Cooper, Management

College of Engineering
• Dr. Halim Ayan, Bioengineering
• Dr. Eda Yildirim-Ayan, Bioengineering

College of Health and Human Services
• Dr. Aravindhan Natarajan, School of Social Justice

College of Medicine and Life Sciences
• Dr. David Heidt, Surgery

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
• Dr. Rafael Garcia-Mata, Biological Sciences

College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
• Dr. Wissam AbouAlaiwi, Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics

Faculty members promoted to professor were:

College of Arts and Letters
• Dr. Mysoon Rizk, Art
• Dr. Sujata Shetty, Geography and Planning
• Dr. Jami Taylor, Political Science and Public Administration
• Dr. Edmund Lingan, Theatre and Film

College of Business and Innovation
• Dr. Margaret Hopkins, Management
• Dr. Bashar Gammoh, Marketing and International Business

College of Engineering
• Dr. Scott Molitor, Bioengineering
• Dr. Sridhar Viamajala, Civil and Environmental Engineering
• Dr. Youngwoo Seo, Civil and Environmental Engineering
• Dr. Devinder Kaur, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
• Dr. Gursel Serpen, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
• Dr. Chunhua Sheng, Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
• Dr. Hongyan Zhang, Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

College of Health and Human Services
• Dr. Tavis Glassman, School of Population Health
• Dr. Sheryl Milz, School of Population Health

Judith Herb College of Education
• Dr. Tod Shockey, Curriculum and Instruction
• Dr. Florian Feucht, Educational Foundations and Leadership

College of Law
• Elizabeth McCuskey
• Evan Zoldan

College of Medicine and Life Sciences
• Dr. Azedine Medhkour, Neurosurgery

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
• Dr. Tomer Avidor-Reiss, Biological Sciences
• Dr. Maria Diakonova, Biological Sciences
• Dr. Michael Weintraub, Environmental Sciences

College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
• Dr. Amanda Bryant-Friedrich, Medicinal and Biological Chemistry
• Dr. Frederick Williams, Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics

Faculty members promoted to associate professor were:

College of Medicine and Life Sciences
• Dr. Sumon Nandi, Orthopaedic Surgery
• Dr. Terrence Lewis, Radiology

Faculty members recognized for outstanding scholarly and creative activity

With the support of University Libraries and a subcommittee organized by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, President Sharon L. Gaber and Provost Andrew Hsu have recognized 26 faculty members from across campus with outstanding contributions in scholarly or creative activity over the past three years.

These contributions include articles in leading scientific journals with high standing that have attracted significant attention in the community; monographs that were published by premier academic presses that have received positive external reviews; and exhibits or performances of creative activity that have received high acclaim.

“I am pleased that the University Libraries contributed by identifying UT faculty articles and books published in preeminent journals and publishing houses,” said Beau Case, dean of University Libraries.

“Faculty members are raising the profile of The University of Toledo across the breadth of disciplines and programs at UT,” said Dr. Frank Calzonetti, vice president for research. “The excellent work of faculty members in disciplines outside of science and engineering is quite impressive and sometimes goes unnoticed.

“All too often research grant dollars are associated with faculty scholarly and creative activity,” Calzonetti said. “In some disciplines, such as in biomedical science, faculty members cannot sustain their research programs that lead to discoveries and publications without external funding to support laboratory needs. However, in many disciplines, such as pure mathematics or history, external funding is not as critical to faculty success in scholarly and creative activity.”

“Given the many faculty members who have had outstanding contributions in scholarly and creative activity over the past three years, it was a tall order to determine just 26 who should be recognized at this time,” said Dr. Ruth Hottell, chair and professor of the Department of World Languages and Cultures, and selection committee member.

The following faculty members were recognized:

• Dr. Abdollah Afjeh of the Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering;

• Dr. Ana C. Alba-Rubio of the Department of Chemical Engineering;

• Dr. Melissa Baltus of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology;

• Dr. Joe Elhai of the Department of Psychology;

• Dr. Kristen Geaman of the Department of History;

• Dr. Blair Grubb of the Department of Medicine;

• Daniel Hernandez of the Department of Art;

• Dr. Terry Hinds of the Department of of Physiology and Pharmacology;

• Dr. Bina Joe of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology;

• Dr. Dong-Shik Kim of the Department of Chemical Engineering;

• Dr. Kristin Kirschbaum of the Instrumentation Center;

• Dr. Ashok Kumar of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering;

• Dr. Beata Lecka-Czernik of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery;

• Dr. Barbara Mann of the Jesup Scott Honors College;

• Elizabeth McCuskey of the College of Law;

• Dr. Thor Mednick of the Department of Art;

• Dr. Munier Nazzal of the Department of Surgery;

• Dr. Kim E. Nielsen of the Department of Disability Studies;

• Dr. Michael Rees of the Department of Urology;

• Dr. Denise Ritter Bernardini of the Department of Music;

• Dr. Donald Ronning of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry;

• Stephen Sakowski of the Department of Theatre and Film;

• Dr. Yanfa Yan of the Department of Physics and Astronomy;

• Dr. Matt Yockey of the Department of Theatre and Film;

• Rebecca Zietlow of the College of Law; and

• Evan Zoldan of the College of Law.

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.

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.