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CBS News - February 2005

Next steps in the CBS strategic planning process

I would like to thank all of you who have submitted suggestions for the College’s strategic planning process. Your ideas are now posted on the CBS website. If you would like to add to this list, there is still time. Please send suggestions to Elizabeth Wroblewski,, by Thursday, February 24.

I am particularly interested in knowing what emerging technologies and areas of knowledge you think we need to add or strengthen to advance our research, teaching, and outreach efforts. Some examples are computational biology and bioinformatics, systems biology (genomics, proteomics, metabolomics), bioengineering, and microbial and molecular evolution. These infusions of new ideas and methods enable our disciplines to grow and they provide a foundation for ways to promote human health, develop alternative energy, and protect the environment – which are at the heart of President Bruininks’ Bioscience Initiatives.

The next step in our planning process is a leadership retreat on Saturday, February 26, which will be attended by department heads and directors and the CBS Consultative Committee. At the retreat, we will review your suggestions as we work to focus our academic direction and identify a short list of strategic goals to guide resource allocation within the college over the next several years.

If you were unable to attend the All College Meeting on Strategic Planning, the slides from my talk and Provost Sullivan's talk are posted. A videotape of the meeting is also available. Please contact Peggy Rinard,, if you would like to see it.

I value your participation in this process. Our plan will be stronger if it reflects all of our best thinking. We expect to have a draft plan to share with you this spring.

Best regards,

Bob Elde

Dean, College of Biological Sciences


State of the University Address

President Bruininks will give his annual State of the University Address at 3 p.m. on Thursday, February 24, in Coffman Memorial Union Theater, 300 Washington Avenue S.E., Minneapolis. All faculty, staff, and students are invited to attend.

University Enterprise Laboratories

University Enterprise Laboratories (UEL) announced a major new tenant in late January. Prism Research, a start-up company that specializes in Phase I and II clinical trials for pharmaceutical products and medical devices, has signed a 10-year lease for 15,000 square feet. The space will include a 52-bed inpatient research facility with semi-private rooms, recreation areas, examination rooms, food service, and 24-hour medical monitoring. UEL also announced closing of a $24.2 million financing package last month to cover costs of purchasing and renovating the building. Dean Elde chairs the UEL Executive Committee.

CBS Legislative Calling Night

Join other members of the CBS community at McNamara Alumni Center from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 22 to make calls to alumni and friends and ask them to urge their legislators to support the U’s request. Over the past several years, state support has declined. The U cannot continue to provide quality education without an increase in funding. Dinner and training will be provided. RSVP to or call 612-624-4770.

St. Paul Day at the Capitol

CBS and COAFES will host a Mini Maroon & Gold Day at the Capitol on Thursday, March 3.. There will be interactive collegiate displays in the rotunda and opportunities for you to meet with your legislators. We may also have the chance to testify in front of the house higher education committee. Transportation to the capitol will be provided. For more information or to register, send an email to

Dean’s Calendar

Dean Elde and Charles Muscoplat, dean and VP, COAFES, spoke to the Senate Higher Education Finance Committee on Feb. 2 about state investments in University bioscience research. On Feb. 7, Elde was interviewed by the Star Tribune for a story that appeared in the Business section on Feb. 14. The dean chaired a panel discussion on “Minnesota’s Bioscience Opportunity” on Feb. 10 that was hosted by the Collaborative Cluster and attended by about 300 members of the business community. Participants included Matt Kramer, Commissioner of the Department of Employment and Economic Development; Sen. Steve Kelly, DFL-Golden Valley; Doug Cameron, Cargill; Maura Donovan, Medtronic; and Bonnie Baskin, CEO of AppTech. Elde gave a presentation on biotechnology for the Minnesota Technology Awareness Forum on Feb. 16. Gov. Tim Pawlenty was also a speaker at this event.

New Genotyping System

The Department of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development has purchased a new genotyping system from Affymetrix and ParAllele for the Genotyping Core Facility in the Basic Sciences and Biomedical Engineering Building. The system identifies genotypes of genetic polymorphisms (variations in the population) on chips and can examine up to 10,000 genotypes on a single chip, which provides the opportunity for global genotyping analyses. The equipment was purchased with a federal appropriation and support from the International Myeloma Foundation.

Barcoding Life

Biologists at a recent meeting in London made a strong pitch for adopting DNA-based standards for classifying all forms of animal life. More than 200 taxonomists from 46 countries convened at London's Natural History Museum to hammer out protocols for a massive DNA "barcoding" effort – a move to collect specific gene tags from every organism on Earth. Many speakers predicted that the effort will revolutionize how species are identified and classed. In addition, several said that the new technology will rejuvenate taxonomy and natural history museums by focusing more on identifying new species than on debating the identity of those already found.

Facing Biotech Foods without the Fear Factor

Jane Brody, NY Times
In this column, noted health columnist Jane Brody demystifies genetically engineered food by explaining that nearly all food has been modified for years by selective breeding and exposure to chemical pesticides and fertilizers.


Craig Packer, ecology, evolution, and behavior, and graduate students Anna Mosser and Bernard Kissui are co-authors of a Science paper (Science 307: 390-393) on "Large-scale ecological change, group territoriality and non-linear population dynamics in Serengeti lions." Their study is an example of sudden shifts to new equilibria of lion populations as a response to gradual changes in prey availability and the lions' grouping behavior.

Bryan Cox is first author of “Organelle and translocatable forms of glyoxysomal malate dehydrogenase: The effect of the N-terminal presequence,” which was published in a recent issue of the FEBS Journal – 272 (2005) 643-654. One of his illustrations was used on the cover of the issue. Bryan is a graduate student in the laboratory of Len Banaszak, professor of biochemistry, molecular biology, and biophysics.

Leslie Brandt and Daniel Hernandez, EEB graduate students, have been awarded Carolyn Crosby Fellowships by the Graduate School. This is a University-wide fellowship for students engaged in field-based plant biology research.

Jon Ross, Itasca Resident Biologist and associate program director, has accepted adjunct faculty status with the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior.

Dave Biesboer and Anita Cholewa, plant biology, co-authored “Common Plants of Itasca State Park,” a guide to the wild flowers, trees, and shrubs, that will soon be published by the University of Minnesota Press.

David Tilman, ecology, evolution, and behavior, was interviewed by Dan Olson of Minnesota Public Radio about the accelerating rate of species extinction around the world. The interview followed a talk Tilman gave at an international biodiversity conference in Paris. The conference, organized by the French government and attended by 1200 scientists, concluded with a statement calling for an international effort to address the mass extinction by cataloging and saving species.

To listen to the interview, go to

Meggan Craft and Kathleen Knight, EEB graduate students, have been awarded Alexander P. and Lydia Anderson Fellowships by the Graduate School. This is a University-wide fellowship for students in the plant or animal sciences.

Sue Wick, plant biology, will receive funding from the Bush Foundation for her proposal “Promoting Student Learning in Large Classes.” The grant's principal investigators are Carol Carrier, Vice President of the Office of Human Resources; Linda Jorn, Director of the Digital Media Center; and Joyce Weinsheimer, Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning Services.


Environmental Science Career Day
Saturday, February 26, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.
For kids ages 8-14 and their families Booths will feature University of Minnesota researchers who work in environmental sciences and natural resources. There will be lots activities for kids. For more information, go to

Bell Museum Summer Camps
Registration for the Bell Museum summer camps has begun. For details about this year’s programs, go to or call (612) 626-9660 to request a brochure.