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CBS News - October 9, 2002

Dean's Comments

Culmination of Biological Sciences Reorganization

Today we celebrate the dedication of the Molecular and Cellular Biology Building. It’s an important day for me and for all of us at CBS and the Medical School because it culminates the reorganization of the biological sciences.  The goal of the reorganization was to merge biology departments across the University in order to strengthen education and research and raise the U’s national standing in biology. The Molecular and Cellular Biology Building provides an ideal setting for realizing those goals.

Three departments that grew out of the reorganization are the primary tenants of the building: The Department of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development (GCD), The Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics (BMBB), and the Department of Neuroscience. About half of faculty in the new building are in GCD, 40 percent in BMBB, and 10 percent in Neuroscience.

While the building is outfitted with all the high tech bells and whistles that science has to offer, its true value may be low tech – creating the opportunity for people to work together in laboratories without walls and to form new relationships. Researchers are clustered along programmatic rather than departmental lines to promote cross-fertilization because innovation often occurs at the boundaries between disciplines.  It’s been a privilege and a pleasure for me to play a role in the planning for this building because one of the most important things that I can do as a dean is bring people together. This building is a magnet for bringing people together and encouraging them to interact in new ways.

Dave Bernlohr, head of BMBB, has commented that “Scientists used to live their lives inside boxes – individual labs with walls. People talk about thinking outside the box. In this new building, there are no boxes, just open spaces without walls. The implicit assumption is that this combination of people and facilities will serve as a catalyst for thinking outside the box.” I can think of no better way to describe the opportunities that this building creates.

Add students to this dynamic environment, and you have the makings of a unique community for learning and research. While researchers and students are often separated, in this building they are integrated. The General Biology Program, which provides introductory biology courses for all University undergraduates; CBS Instructional Laboratories, which serves biology majors; and instructional labs for medical and dental students are all housed in the building. Students at all levels, from undergraduates through post-doctoral fellows, work and learn in faculty research labs. Thus students have the opportunity to learn in a setting where the boundaries of science are being advanced.

I hope you can take some time today to join me in celebrating what we have accomplished together. The program begins at 11 a. m.

Bob Elde, dean

News

Molecular and Cellular Biology Building dedication

You’re invited to the dedication program for the Molecular and Cellular Biology Building. It’s today at 11:00 a.m. in front of the building, located on Washington Avenue near Church Street. Speakers include AHC Sr. VP Frank Cerra; Interim President Robert Bruininks; Regent Bryan Neel; CBS Dean Robert Elde; Medical School Dean Deborah Powell; and former governor Arne Carlson. The program also includes presentation of time capsule contents. Lunch will follow.

Associate dean for academic affairs named

Robin Wright from the University of Washington has accepted CBS' offer to become associate dean for academic affairs and professor of genetics, cell biology and development effective January 6, 2003.  From January 6 until June 16, Wright will serve part-time as associate dean while she establishes her laboratory in the Molecular and Cellular Biology Building. John Anderson has agreed to stay on during this transition period. An associate professor of zoology at the University of Washington, Wright received her Ph.D. in biological sciences from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh in 1985, and completed postdoctoral training at the University of California, Berkeley, in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. Since 1997, she has been a faculty member at the University of Washington, where she is director of the Hughes Program for Undergraduate Education. Her honors include a distinguished teaching award from the University of Washington. She has funding from the NSF for Cellular Control of Endoplasmic Reticulum Biogenesis, 2000-2003, and previously had an RO1 grant from the NIH for Membrane Dynamics and Sterol Biosynthesis in Yeast.

MCB building artists discuss their work

Artists Ann Hamilton and Ben Rubin will talk about the art they created for the MCB building at noon on Thursday, October 10 in room 3-120 MCB. The artists propose to animate the buildings surface with patterns that register and respond to variable external stimuli like light, sound, temperature, and air velocity. Horizontal LED fixtures set parallel with the masonry will mark the six levels of the building and will cross the Washington Avenue facades with waves of pulsating shifting light, changing color and intensity in response to multiple live-time inputs.

Chimps on the big screen

Jane Goodall’s “Wild Chimpanzees” opens October 17 at the Science Museum of Minnesota’s Omnitheater. Anne Pusey, EEB, served as chief scientific advisor for the film. Pusey is head of The Jane Goodall Institute Center for Primate Studies at CBS. To learn more about the film visit www.wildchimpanzees.org. To learn more about the Center for Primate Studies visit www.discoverchimpanzees.org

Monarchs in midwest down, but not out

A giant storm destroyed an estimated 10 million monarch butterflies in Mexico last year and the repercussions in the U.S seem to vary by geography. On the east coast there were very few, if any, monarch butterflies spotted this year. However, the number of monarchs in the Midwest is not much below the annual average. "It's on the low side, but still well within the realm of normal numbers," said Karen Oberhauser, EEB, in the October 1 issue of The New York Times. She was also featured on CNN Online on October 4. Oberhauser works with volunteers from around the country on the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project, which involves citizens in collecting information about monarchs as they move across the U.S. in their annual migration to Mexico.

‘U’ third for second time in research

For the second year in a row, the University of Minnesota is third among public research universities in the nation. The study was conducted by “The Center,” at the University of Florida, and is considered by many as a more quantitative measure of a University’s quality than other well-known rankings. The report can be viewed here.

‘U’ researchers receive over $500 million

University researchers received over half a billion dollars in research grants for fiscal year 2002, the highest amount in University history. The federal government was the largest sponsor of University research, providing over $370 million, or roughly 76 percent. The federal government estimates that every $1 million in research funding results in 39 jobs in the state.

Create your legacy

CBS will co-sponsor a breakfast program called “Value-Based Estate Planning: Providing for Your Heirs.” Learn how to manage your capital, establish financial priorities, and achieve financial independence. The breakfast will be held Friday, October 11 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the Earle Brown Center room 42B. For more information or to RSVP contact, Barb Felgen, b-felg@umn.edu, or 612-624-1052.

Minnesota counts on U to give back to the community

The University kicked off its 2002 Community Fund Drive on October 1.  All University employees should receive a packet of Fund Drive materials explaining the drive and listing a variety of charitable organizations in Minnesota. There are a number of health care and environmental charities to choose from. Interim President Bruininks would like 100 percent employee participation. “Choose a charity or an organization that is especially meaningful to you, and give generously to it,” he said.

Create an opportunity for a CBS student

CBS has raised 82 percent of its $6.1 million goal for Campaign Minnesota, which concludes June 20, 2003. Increasing support for annual and endowed scholarships remains an important goal for CBS. You can make a gift to a current fund or establish a new one with cash, securities, property, or by payroll deduction. Or, you can include CBS in your estate plans. Gifts from faculty, staff, alumni, and friends create extraordinary opportunities for students. Private giving is the key to a great university. Contact Janene Connelly at 612-624-7496 or connelly@cbs.umn.edu

Come see successful CBS grads

Seventeen students attended the inaugural presentation of "Exploring Careers in the Life Sciences,” on October 2. The series featured CBS alumni talking about their current jobs. Last week’s guests were Bev Schomburg (B.S. Biochemistry 1967), an environmental specialist with Dakota County, Julie Kirihara (B.S. Biochemistry 1981, Ph.D. Biochemistry 1988), president of ATG Labs, and Todd Lemke (BS in Genetics & Cell Biology in 1992 and Ph.D. in Pharmacy in 1999), clinical pharmacist with Paynesville Area Health Services. The series will be held the first Wednesday of every month at 5:30 p.m. in 150 Ecology. This is an excellent chance for faculty to re-connect with former students. Watch for a list of speakers in the next issue of CBS News. For more information or to register visit: http://www.career.umn.edu/career_courses.html

Grad students – looking for a job?

If you are a graduate student with an eye on the job market, you may want to subscribe to the CBS Alumni Email List. Members receive a weekly email bulletin listing job openings at Minnesota companies as well as an update on CBS news and events. To subscribe, email alumni@cbs.umn.edu with the subject or message containing the words "Please subscribe me to the CBS Alumni Email List.” You may unsubscribe at any time.

CBS tutors needed

Tutors are needed for courses that have CBS designators such as Biol, GCD, PBio, Nsci, EEB, BMMB, and MicB. Help is also needed for occasional tutoring in such classes as Biochemistry, Genetics, Microbiology, Cell Biology, Animal Physiology, Ecology, General Biology, Heredity and Human Society, etc. Payment is negotiated between tutor and student, but average rates are about $8 an hour for undergrad tutors and $11 an hour for grad students. For more information, please contact Kathy at 612 624-1257 or kathyb@cbs.umn.edu

Denim CBS shirts featuring Goldy

Are you still wearing that purple shirt on maroon and gold Fridays? Then you should know that CBS is now selling denim shirts featuring the CBS logo and Goldy Gopher. The shirts are unisex sizes ranging from S-2XL. The prices are $20.88 for S-XL and $23.28 for 2XL. Please place your order with your department administrator by Monday, October 14.

Sabbatical policy and forms

Faculty single semester and sabbatical leave policy and forms can be found at http://policy.umn.edu/Policies/hr/Leaves/FACLEAVES.html CBS faculty sabbatical supplement policy and forms are available from Andrea Pedersen Garrett, apederse@cbs.umn.edu or 4-2793. All forms for the 2003-04 academic school year are due in the Dean’s office before January 15, 2003.

Super searching at McGrath Library

The Magrath Library wants you to be able to search journal article indexes and the web as quickly and efficiently as possible. They are offering a number of classes this fall to help you. For a listing of the classes and to register visit: http://www.lib.umn.edu/registration.

People

The Victor Bloomfield Graduate Fellowship in Molecular Biophysics was awarded for the first time to Ben Mueller, a student in the M.D./Ph.D. program. Bloomfield set up the fellowship with an inheritance from his mother. He pledged $50,000, which was matched by 21st Century Fellowship Endowment. “Money can’t help anyone if it is in the bank,” said Bloomfield. The two were recently featured on the cover of Campaign Legacy.

Judith Berman, GCD, received $353,000 from NIH and the National Institute of Craniofacial Research to study morphogenesis and cell cycle connection in C. albicans. The study will be conducted using microarrays that were built at the University of Minnesota.

John Ward, plant biology, received $130,000 from the USDA/Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service to study proteins that transport sugars from photosynthetic tissue to roots, flowers, and fruit.

Douglas DeMaster, who received a Ph.D. in ecology, evolution, and behavior in 1978, has been selected to receive an Outstanding Achievement Award from the University of Minnesota. Currently director of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, DeMaster has helped bring diverse groups together to solve significant scientific issues, been scientific advisor to numerous national scientific organizations, and authored or co-authored over 100 scientific papers or reports. The award will be presented March 6 at 3:00 p.m. in the Earle Brown Center.

Deanna Koepp, is a new assistant professor in GCD. She comes to CBS from Baylor College of Medicine and has a Ph.D. from Harvard University. Her research focuses on the role of ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis in the regulation of the cell cycle.

Paul Marker is also a new assistant professor in GCD. He comes to CBS from the University of San Francisco and has a Ph.D. from Stanford University. His research focuses on the biology of the prostate gland at the molecular level. He will also serve as associate director of the Mouse Genetics Laboratory.

Theodore Kennedy, EEB graduate student, published a study in the June 6 issue of Nature showing that diverse ecosystems are better able to defend themselves against invading, non-native species than ecosystems that are less diverse. His study was conducted at Cedar Creek. Peter Reich, College of Natural Resources, and David Tilman, CBS, were co-authors.

Susan Stafford became the new dean of the College of Natural Resources on October 1. Stafford comes to the University from the University of Colorado, where she was the head of the Forest Sciences Department. Her specialties include statistics, ecology, and managing and analyzing research data

Events & Seminars

    October 11
    Planned Giving Workshop
    9 a.m. Earle Brown Center 42B
    RSVP to Barb Felge, b-felg@umn.edu

    October 16
    Balancing the Life Science Missions of a Land Grant University Post 9/11
    10 a.m. Earle Brown Center 135

    October 23-25
    CBS Imaging Center Workshop
    Advances in Microwave Specimen Processing for Biological Samples
    Contact Mark Sanders, msanders@cbs.umn.edu.

    October 30
    Conflicting Roles in the Biomedical Research Agenda
    3 p.m. 3-120 MCB

    October 31
    Adult Stem Cells: Pluripotent or Not? Featuring Catherine M. Verfaillie
    12 p.m., 2-101 BSBE. Contact Laura Ranum, ranum001@umn.edu, or 4-0901.

    November 7
    Mentor Program Kick-off,
    6:00 p.m., 150 Ecology. Contact CBS Alumni Relations, denz0018@umn.edu, or 4-4770 .

    November 7
    Yeast Tails: Morphogenesis and Senescense in Two Budding Yeasts.
    12 p.m., 2-120 BSBE. Contact Judith Berman, Judith@cbs.umn.edu, or 5-1971.

    November 11
    My Life With Cytochrome C, Featuring Fred Sherman from the University of Rochester;
    12:00 p.m. Mayo Auditorium Contact Judith Berman, Judith@cbs.umn.edu, or 5-1971.