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State certifies UTPD for adopting standards to strengthen community and police relations

The Ohio Department of Public Safety certified The University of Toledo Police Department for meeting the third and latest group of new state standards for bias-free policing and investigation of employee misconduct.

The new standards include the first of their kind in the state developed by the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board in 2015 to strengthen community and police relations.

In the last two years, the state certified the UTPD for adopting two previous groups of new standards for the use of deadly force; agency recruitment and hiring; community engagement; and body-worn cameras.

The UT Police Department joins more than 500 other law enforcement agencies that are implementing Ohio’s first standards and public expectations. The UTPD is one of about 35 law enforcement agencies in the state that have achieved all three groups of standards.

“We are pleased the University meets or exceeds the state standards,” UT Police Chief Jeff Newton said. “Building trust begins with assuring our community The University of Toledo Police Department is using best practices. I am grateful to my dedicated staff for this notable accomplishment.”

For more information, visit the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board’s website.

UT scientist studies cannabis to control parasites

Anthropologists have observed that the members of a tribe in Africa’s Congo Basin who regularly smoke marijuana have far fewer intestinal parasites than tribe members who don’t use cannabis.

It was a curious finding that suggested an interesting, if unintentional, example of medical marijuana.

Komuniecki

Now a University of Toledo researcher believes he knows why — and potentially how to harness that knowledge to develop new treatments that could rid humans and livestock of roundworms without relying on traditional anthelmintic drugs.

“Studying how nematodes reacted to cannabis gave us a window into a potential new mode of action,” said Dr. Richard Komuniecki, Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences at The University of Toledo. “Cannabis really limits locomotion in these animals, and they exhibit a dazed and confused behavior. They can’t decide whether to move forward or backward, which is a druggable phenotype.”

Most anti-parasitic drugs currently on the market to treat intestinal parasites work by causing paralysis in the worms, allowing the body to expel them. It is possible the limited locomotion Komuniecki’s work has observed could be enough to release the worm from the host.

While additional animal testing is needed to confirm the theory, the early findings from Komuniecki and his graduate student researchers, Wenjin Law and Mitchell Oakes, are significant because of their potential to add a new treatment in an area that hasn’t seen much recent development.

“In contrast to things like bacteria where we can develop antibiotics, these animals are so closely related to humans that usually compounds that kill nematodes also kill humans,” Komuniecki said. “Anthelmintic drug discovery has been very slow for that reason. Also, resistance is beginning to arise in a lot of the compounds on the market today.”

For his initial research, Komuniecki introduced cannabinoids to a non-parasitic nematode, or roundworm, known as Caenorhabditis elegans. The tiny worms, which have long been used in scientific research, stopped feeding and exhibited erratic motor function once they were exposed to the compounds.

After studying the worm’s reaction, UT researchers determined they could produce the same reaction by targeting the worms’ serotonin receptors. Komuniecki has worked with Dr. Paul Erhardt, Distinguished University Professor and director of UT’s Center for Drug Design and Development, to identify compounds that could be used as treatment.

“The cannabis work allowed us to identify these receptors as novel drug targets,” Komuniecki said.

More than 2 billion people worldwide are affected by parasites, while the global agricultural industry loses billions of dollars a year to parasitic infections.

Komuniecki’s work on parasitic worms has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health for more than 35 years.

UT student receives Google Women Techmakers Scholarship

Naba Rizvi is one of 20 students who received the Google Women Techmakers Scholarship this year. The $10,000 award includes a scholar retreat and connects the winners with Google scholars around the world.

At the retreat in August, the UT sophomore majoring in information technology in the College of Engineering and other scholarship recipients visited the Google campuses, including the Googleplex in Mountain View, Calif.

UT student Naba Rizvi rode a bicycle outside the Googleplex in Mountain View, Calif., before posing for a photo with the other Google Women Techmakers Scholarship recipients during a retreat in August.

“It was an incredibly motivating and empowering experience to be surrounded by people who shared my interest in technology and passion for breaking barriers in computer science,” Rizvi said. “I met some very incredible people who I am sure I will be friends with for years to come.”

“We are proud of Naba Rizvi, who is a very deserving recipient of the Google Women Techmakers Scholarship,” Dr. Michael Toole, dean of the UT College of Engineering, said. “It is an honor to have one of our students selected as one of 20 women in the country to receive this award, and it shows the strength of our Engineering Technology Department in the College of Engineering.”

“Naba has made a tremendous impact on the community of women in tech at The University of Toledo. In addition to her role as the founder of the UT Association of Computing Machinery Women’s Chapter, she has been at the forefront of several initiatives related to tech on campus,” Dr. Lesley Berhan, associate dean for diversity, inclusion and community engagement in the UT College of Engineering, said. “We are incredibly proud of her as UT’s first recipient of this prestigious scholarship.”

The criteria for the scholarship include having a strong academic record, technical experience, financial need, and passion for increasing diversity in computer science.

Naba Rizvi found the Pakistan flag during International Village, an event organized by the International Student Association and held in the Thompson Student Union.

“At the retreat, we networked with fellow scholars, students in Google’s CodeU program and Google engineers,” she said. “The retreat had a strong emphasis on professional development, and we had the opportunity to attend breakout sessions, such as ‘The Art of Networking,’ a resumé workshop and a careers panel.”

Information technology wasn’t always the desired career path for Rizvi. She first majored in political science.

“Prior to attending UT, I was at a community college in Michigan and really confused about what direction I wanted to take with my career,” she said.

Rizvi completed a research fellowship at the University of Michigan, but technology challenged her creative mind. “Technology allows me to combine my creative problem-solving skills with my interest in helping humanity,” she said.

The University of Toledo was a place where Rizvi could follow her dreams. She was impressed with the scholarships and opportunities that UT offers.

“For me, enrolling at UT was the fastest path to becoming financially independent since I knew I could support myself with scholarships, internships and on-campus employment.”

Rizvi is a Pakistani citizen who has moved around a lot.

“I was born in Pakistan and lived there until I was around 3 and moved to Saudi Arabia. I spent my teenage years in Canada and moved to Michigan when I was 19,” she said.

Toledo feels like home these days. At the University, she is chief operations officer for CodeWeGo, a startup she launched with UT students Carla Marzari and Yizhen Shi. The education-technology company seeks to increase diversity in computer science by breaking language barriers.

“I am going to devote the next few years of my life completely to my startup and am so excited to see where this journey takes me,” Rizvi, a student in the Jesup Scott Honors College, said.

In addition, Rizvi is founder and chair of the Association of Computing Machinery Women’s Chapter, a web developer for the College of Engineering College Computing, and a resident adviser for MacKinnon, Scott and Tucker halls.

UT students mentor local elementary school children during weekly campus visit

The children gasped in delight and their eyes lit up with wonder as each walked single file into an auditorium-style classroom at The University of Toledo.

The excited faces of more than two dozen third-, fourth- and fifth-graders bused from Old Orchard Elementary School were ready for the debut of UT’s College Mentors for Kids program.

Mariah Quinn worked with Cullen Brank, 8, during the first session of UT’s College Mentors for Kids program.

UT students matched with their “little buddies” from Toledo Public Schools for one-on-one mentoring on this first activity day of the school year. They will meet once a week on campus for two hours after school as a way to expose the children to higher education at a young age and also provide college students with leadership and growth opportunities.

Doryian Thames, a fourth-year student majoring in professional sales and marketing, serves as the president of the new UT organization.

“When I was a boy, mentors through the Boys and Girls Clubs of America had a big influence on me,” Thames said. “Mentors have a genuine chance to make an impact on someone’s life. This program is a direct opportunity to see how being an active role model to an individual can really change the trajectory of their future.”

One of the program goals is to expose children to a variety of career options. The theme of the inaugural week was pharmacy, and activities included making hand sanitizer.

“As an educator, it is imperative that we create opportunities to expose young scholars to what they can aspire to become,” Dr. Phillip “Flapp” Cockrell, UT vice president for student affairs, said. “UT is committed to moving the student success needle forward by fostering environments for both mentors and little buddies to learn.”

UT launched a new chapter of the national College Mentors for Kids program in partnership with the Hylant Family Foundation.

“As native Toledoans, the Hylant family is thrilled to be sponsoring the new College Mentors for Kids chapter at The University of Toledo,” said Clare Hylant of the Hylant Family Foundation. “This program provides the opportunity to make a significant difference for the youth of Toledo, a true chance to change what they think is possible, and encourage them to reach for their dreams.”

“We are so excited for any additional support we receive from outside organizations that are helpful and benefits our students in further developing their college readiness,” Valerie Dreier, principal of Old Orchard Elementary School, said.

College Mentors for Kids is a nonprofit organization with a mission to connect college students with the most to give to kids who need it most. The organization operates 34 campus-based chapters across Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia.

“We want kids to dream bigger and achieve higher,” said Carly Cox, associate director of programming for the national office of College Mentors for Kids. “Whether that means pursuing a career as a chef or a gardener or opening your own business, we want them to see beyond their neighborhood and see new potential.”

UT Leadership Institute 2018-19 class announced

Last year, 21 faculty from across the University participated in the second year of the UT Leadership Institute.

The program was launched in fall 2016 by UT President Sharon L. Gaber and Provost Andrew Hsu to provide professional development to help prepare future academic leaders.

“We started this program to help our fantastic faculty members develop into future academic leaders,” Gaber said. “We believe the UT Leadership Institute accelerates success in higher education administration.”

“For faculty who are interested in exploring leadership opportunities in higher education administration, participation in the UT Leadership Institute is an excellent opportunity,” Hsu said. “Our third cohort of faculty represents faculty from eight colleges and University Libraries. I look forward to the many contributions they will make as emerging leaders of the University.”

Following a competitive application process, a third cohort of 22 faculty members was selected to participate in this year’s UT Leadership Institute. This year’s participants are:

• Dr. Ammon Allred, Philosophy, College of Arts and Letters;

• Dr. Jillian Bornak, Physics, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics;

• Dr. Lucinda Bouillon, School of Exercise and Rehabilitation Services, College of Health and Human Services;

• Dr. Maria Coleman, Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering;

• Dr. Joan Duggan, Medicine, College of Medicine and Life Sciences;

• Dr. Kevin Egan, Economics, College of Arts and Letters;

• Dr. Michael Ellis, Medicine, College of Medicine and Life Sciences;

• Dr. Rodney Gabel, School of Intervention and Wellness, College of Health and Human Services;

• Dr. David Giovannucci, Neurosciences, College of Medicine and Life Sciences;

• Dr. Lynn Hamer, Foundations of Education, Judith Herb College of Education;

• Dr. Dana Hollie, Accounting, College of Business and Innovation;

• Dr. A. Champa Jayasuriya, Orthopedic Surgery, College of Medicine and Life Sciences;

• Dr. David Kennedy, Medicine, College of Medicine and Life Sciences;

• Dr. Lisa Kovach, Foundations of Education, Judith Herb College of Education;

• Sarah Long, School of Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, College of Health and Human Services;

• Julia Martin, University Libraries;

• Amy O’Donnell, Management, College of Business and Innovation;

• Dr. Jorge Ortiz, Surgery, College of Medicine and Life Sciences;

• Dr. Youssef Sari, Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences;

• Dr. Rebecca Schneider, Curriculum and Instruction, Judith Herb College of Education;

• Dr. Qin Shao, Mathematics, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics; and

• Dr. Puneet Sindhwani, Urology, College of Medicine and Life Sciences.

The first meeting of this year’s UT Leadership Institute cohort was held Oct. 5 and will be followed by monthly meetings throughout the academic year.

Participants will discuss various aspects of leadership in higher education and engage in discussions with members of the UT leadership team and invited speakers, with presentations focusing on leadership styles, critical issues facing administrators, funding, and diversity and inclusion.

President Sharon L. Gaber, second row standing at right, posed for a photo with most of the members of the 2018-19 class of the UT Leadership Institute during last month.

Work proceeding to renovate, expand Glendale Medical East

UT Medical Center continues to look for opportunities to be more efficient and align hospital resources with clinical priorities. This winter, the hospital will focus those efforts into renovating and expanding Glendale Medical East to meet the primary care needs of patients with increased access and convenience.

The comprehensive health and wellness center will pair family medicine and internal medicine subspecialists in pulmonology, endocrinology, nephrology, cardiology and gastroenterology who will relocate from Ruppert Medical Center. South Toledo Internists also will relocate their practice from Glendale Medical Center.

The facility will feature an additional 44 exam rooms, a retail and specialty pharmacy, general x-ray and basic lab draws. Academic space, a break room and locker rooms also will be incorporated. The convenience of centralized registration will make check-in easy for patients, and with subspecialties co-located in the same building, physician communication and referrals to subspecialties will be improved.

Construction is expected to conclude in spring 2019. Once clinics locate their practices to Glendale Medical East, vacant space in Ruppert Medical Center will be used to accommodate expansion of remaining clinics, as well as providing additional space for outpatient behavioral health services.

“Thank you to the family medicine and internal medicine teams for their input during the design process, and to Facilities and Construction for their diligent work in facilitating the capital improvements,” Allen Siefert, chief administrative officer of outpatient integrated clinic operations, said.

UTMC is working with partners in clinical offices and facilities to make these transitions as smooth as possible and will continue to share updates as construction progresses.

Rocket football great to lead Toledo holiday parade Nov. 17

Former UT and NFL quarterback Bruce Gradkowski will be the grand marshal for The Blade Holiday Parade.

The 31st annual parade will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, in downtown Toledo and include more than 70 participants, including color guards, giant balloons, clowns, marching bands and dance teams.

Quarterback Bruce Gradkowski led the Rockets to the 2004 Mid-American Conference Championship.

The parade will start on Summit Street at Jefferson Avenue and proceed north on Summit to Jackson Street, west on Jackson to Huron Street, south on Huron to Washing Street, and east on Washington to Summit.

Santa Claus also will be in attendance during the parade and afterward at Imagination Station.

Gradkowski played for Toledo from 2001 to 2005 and led the Rockets to the 2004 Mid-American Conference Championship and two bowl appearances. He earned first-team All-MAC honors as a senior in 2005, finishing his career with a 45-13 triumph over the University of Texas at El Paso in the GMAC Bowl.

After a record-breaking career as a Toledo Rocket, Gradkowski played 11 seasons in the NFL with Tampa Bay, Cleveland, Oakland, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

The 2005 UT alumnus now shares his expertise as a color analyst for the Rocket Football Radio Network and is a co-host of a weekly NFL radio show on SiriusXM.

Gradkowski is a local restaurant owner and a community ambassador for ProMedica. He recently received a 20 Under 40 Leadership Award from Leadership Toledo, which honors individuals who have distinguished themselves in their career and/or as a volunteer in the community.

Ohio poet laureate to read work, sign books Nov. 20

Dr. Dave Lucas is a poet on a mission.

“I don’t want to convince you that you should love poetry. I want to convince you that you already do,” he wrote in a column for the Ohio Arts Council.

Lucas

“If you know by heart the lyrics to your favorite song, you already love one kind of poetry. You love another whenever you laugh at a joke or groan over a bad pun. The jargon of your profession and the slang you speak with friends are poetry. So are the metaphors we use to describe this world we all are trying to understand.”

Lucas, who began his two-year term as Ohio poet laureate in January, will visit The University of Toledo Tuesday, Nov. 20, to talk about his love of words and read his work. The free, public event will take place at 7 p.m. in Libbey Hall.

He also will sign copies of his first collection of poetry, “Weather,” which was published in 2011 and won the 2012 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry. That work also caught the attention of Rita Dove, former U.S. poet laureate, who called Lucas one of 13 “young poets to watch.”

“I’m excited we’re able to bring Dave Lucas to campus,” Dr. Benjamin Stroud, UT associate professor of English, said. “He’s not just an excellent poet, but a great advocate for poetry and, more widely, all the literary arts. He provides a great model to students — and everyone — for how to hone your own craft while also supporting the larger community of poets and writers.”

Since being named the state’s poet laureate Jan. 1, Lucas has been trying to debunk the lofty notions of the measured word.

“Poetry happens — in metaphors or jokes or in poems themselves — at that place where sound and sense blur into each other,” he wrote on the Ohio Arts Council website. “We may not realize that we are under the spell of poetry, because poetry is made of ordinary language (if language can ever be ordinary). Some words we use to toast a wedding or to bless the dead; others we use to order a pizza.”

That everyday sense was at the forefront of his class called Poetry for People Who Hate Poetry at Case Western Reserve University, and with Brews + Prose, a reading series he co-founded and co-curated with the slogan “literature is better with beer.”

Lucas’ poetry is featured in anthologies “The Bedford Introduction to Literature” and “Best New Poets 2015,” and has appeared in several journals, including The American Poetry Review, Blackbird, The Paris Review, Poetry and Slate.

The Cleveland native received a bachelor of arts degree from John Carroll University, a master of fine arts degree in creative writing from the University of Virginia, and master of arts and doctoral degrees in English language and literature from the University of Michigan.

His visit is presented by the Department of English Language and Literature, and the College of Arts and Letters.

For more information, contact Stroud at benjamin.stroud@utoledo.edu or 419.530.2086.

UT Rocket Marching Band to perform Nov. 17 in Valentine Theatre

The University of Toledo Rocket Marching Band will take its show on the road to an indoor venue. The Sounds of the Stadium Concert will be held Saturday, Nov. 17, at 8 p.m. at the Valentine Theatre, 410 Adams St.

The band will perform music from the 2018 football season.

The UT Rocket Marching Band performed during the 2018 Edward C. and Helen G. Schmakel Homecoming Parade.

Highlights of the program will include the music of Panic! at the Disco, Elton John, show tunes from “The Greatest Showman,” and traditional UT favorites.

Tickets are $7 each. Discount tickets are available for groups of 10 and more.

Tickets are available through the UT Center for Performing Arts Box Office, 419.530.ARTS (2787), and on the School of Visual and Performing Arts website, as well as through the Valentine Theatre Box Office, 419.242.ARTS (2787), and the Valentine Theatre website.

For more information, visit the UT Rocket Marching Band page.

Nov. 27 deadline to order poinsettias from Satellites

Make the season even more festive: Order a poinsettia from the Satellites Auxiliary.

The poinsettias range in price from $6 to $16 and are available in an array of colors, including red, white, pink, and blue with gold. The plants vary in size from 4.5 inches to 7.5 inches and by the number of blooms.

UT students Andrew Yim and Jessica Shippy checked out some poinsettias at the Satellites Auxiliary’s sale last year in Rocket Hall.

Fresh wreathes measuring 14 inches also are available for $11.

“Every year we do this sale as more of a service for our campuses than as a fundraiser,” Lynn Brand, president of the Satellites, said. “We keep our costs very low, and the small amount of profits benefit our scholarships for the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, the College of Nursing, and the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.”

Poinsettia order forms must be received by Tuesday, Nov. 27. Email lynn.brand@utoledo.edu, fax to 419.383.3206, or drop off to Volunteer Services in Dowling Hall Room 75.

Orders will be available for pickup from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Main Campus Monday, Dec. 3, in the Rocket Hall Lobby and on Health Science Campus Tuesday, Dec. 4, in the Four Seasons Bistro Atrium. All poinsettias will be foiled and sleeved.

Payment is due at the time of pickup; options include cash, checks, and payroll deduction on Health Science Campus.

The Satellites Auxiliary is a group designed to promote education, research and service programs; provide support of patient programs in accordance with the needs and approval of administration; conduct fundraising events; and offer volunteer services.

For more information on the annual sale, contact Brand at lynn.brand@utoledo.edu.