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CBS News - January 2013

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CBS in final push to raise funds for new Itasca campus center

With construction of a new campus center at Itasca Biological Station and Laboratories scheduled to begin in April, the college is launching a final fundraising push and offering a special opportunity to donors who make gifts of $1,000 or more. To date, CBS has raised nearly $1.6 million of the $2 million the college is expected to contribute toward the $6 million projected construction budget. The names of donors who make new gifts of $1,000 or more will be included on a special donor wall in the new campus center. Since this special opportunity was announced this past August, 35 donors have made gifts totaling $80,000. Interested in seeing your name on the donor wall? Learn more.

College plays role in $36M proposal to advance research that drives state industries

The College of Biological Sciences is playing a key role in the University’s proposed MnDRIVE (Minnesota Discovery, Research and InnoVation Economy) program, which focuses on four strategic areas that benefits state industries. 

  • Advancing industry, conserving our environment
  • Supporting robotics, sensors, and advanced manufacturing
  • Securing the global food supply
  • Advancing the treatment of brain conditions

Dean Elde and Michael Sadowsky, director of the BioTechnology Institute, developed the plan for “Advancing industry, conserving the environment.” This will involve efforts to work with industry to address environmental barriers that may be limiting growth. An example: Daniel Bond and Jeff Gralnick are researching ways to use microbes to improve the mining pprocess. Mike Sadowsky discusses this initiative in the Winter 2013 issue of Minnesota, the U’s alumni magazine. CBS faculty will likely be involved in the other three initiatives as well, particularly “Securing the global food supply.” The U is asking the state for $18 million annually to support the MnDRIVE program.

The University’s biennial budget request also includes $42.6 million to freeze undergraduate tuition over the next two years and $1.5 million to forgive loans of health sciences graduates who agree to practice in underserved areas of the state. The 2013 session of the Minnesota Legislature began on January 8. Please support the U’s request by contacting your legislators.

Minnesota Public Radio’s Kerri Miller to speak at CBS commencement

Kerri Miller, an award-winning journalist and host of Minnesota Public Radio’s weekday news program The Daily Circuit, has agreed to speak at this year’s undergraduate commencement. Miller is known for her incisive interview style and intelligent exploration of a wide range of topics from the latest scientific findings to international politics. She has been a radio and television news reporter since 1981. The CBS commencement ceremony is May 18 in Mariucci Arena. Read Miller's bio.

BTI signs academic exchange agreement with Osaka University

The BioTechnology Institute and the Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research at Osaka University in Japan recently signed agreement of academic exchange. The institutes will engage in collaborative research as well as the exchange of researchers, students, information and materials. “What we hope will happen at that time is the realization of some synergies between BTI faculty and ISIR faculty that will lead to graduate student exchanges between labs,” says BTI Program Director Tim Tripp. The exchange is a potential first step toward formalization of a broader undergraduate exchange program between the University of Minnesota and Osaka University.

Dean’s Scholars recognized by national professional association

The National Association for Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Student Leadership Programs Knowledge Community recently named the CBS Dean's Scholars an “Outstanding Spotlight Program.” The award will be presented at the NASPA conference in Orlando later this spring.

New online

  • Blast from the past: The Seelig lab has developed an artificial enzyme that may provide a glimpse of what enzymes looked like billions of years ago.
  • Candid camera on the Serengeti: The Snapshot Serengeti project is engaging citizen scientists to help CBS researchers understand the lives and interactions of Serengeti wildlife.
  • Speaking fluent science: From celiac disease to how pathogens influence evolution, the Health and Biological Research News Club brings scientific literacy to a broader audience.
  • Shaping biological compounds: Distinguished McKnight Professor Claudia Schmidt-Dannert designs novel pathways that could lead to the discovery of more effective, less expensive pharmaceuticals.


David Moeller (PBIO) is co-principal investigator on a newly awarded National Science Foundation (NSF) grant. He and co-investigators Monica Geber from Cornell University and Vince Eckhart from Grinnell College received a five-year award from the NSF Long-Term Research in Environmental Biology program for $450,000. The title of the proposal is “Evolutionary Demography - the Contribution of Adaptation and Environment to Population Dynamics, Range Size and Niche Width.” The work will be carried out in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains in California.


Annacheal Wood, an undergraduate who works in the lab of Angela Panoskaltsis-Mortari (Medical School), will present on “Lung Fibrosis: How Lung Matrix Affects Cell Function” this April at the 2013 National Conference for Undergraduate Research at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Annachael’s abstract was among those selected from a field of more than 3,500 submissions.

Elizabeth Borer (EEB) is an invited speaker at this year's AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston. Her session will be titled: “Networks of discovery: Delivering unsurpassed insight into changing global ecosystems.”

Marlene Zuk (EEB) was recently quoted in a Minnesota Daily article, “The only woman in the room,” that looks at the barriers for women in STEM fields, especially female faculty in the physical and life sciences.

Tannica Jacobson (CBS Dean’s Office) joined CBS earlier this month as coordinator for alumni relations and development. Jacobson comes to the college from Habitat for Humanity where she organized Habitat Day on the Hill, an annual lobbying effort on behalf of affordable housing.

“Telling your story: Reflection and health program interviews,” a workshop developed by Lisa Novack (CBS Student Services) and Whitney Moore (Career Center for Science and Engineering) for CBS pre-health students, was named "Program of the Month" by the ACPA Standing Committee for Graduate Students and New Professionals. Read a Q&A with Lisa about the workshop.

Emily Ellingson (EEB) received the Student Leader of the Semester Award for fall semester 2012 from the Biology Colloquium program. The award is given each term to a student who has shown excellent leadership skills



Will we have enough water? Adapting to a warming, water-stressed world

National Geographic Freshwater Fellow Sandra Postel, an expert on threats facing water resources around the world, will talk about the challenges to the water supply posed by a growing population and climate change. Read a Q&A with Postel.

St. Paul Student Center Theater | St. Paul | 7 p.m. | Register


Is frack a four-letter word?

The Institute on the Environment hosts Professor Larry Wackett for a discussion of the pros and cons of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and emerging technologies that deal with remediation and recycling. More information.

R380 Learning + Environmental Sciences | St. Paul | noon


Registration for spring 2013 equity and diversity workshops now open

Spring offerings in the U of M Office of Equity and Diversity's certificate program are online and open for registration. Take one class or complete the certificate. The courses offer participants a theoretical framework for understanding equity and diversity work, an opportunity to develop necessary skills for equity and diversity work, and provide direct experience working and communicating across differences. Check out course offerings

Funding opportunity for CBS graduate students

The Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment & the Life Sciences is accepting proposals for funding aimed at research with broad societal implications of problems in health, environment or the life sciences.Graduate and professional students on all UMN campuses are eligible. Deadline for submission is Monday, February 18. More information

Nominate outstanding TAs for annual awards

All teaching assistants in CBS courses (undergraduate and graduate) who have demonstrated excellence in teaching or other instructional activities that enhance the educational experience at the U of M are eligible for the annual CBS Outstanding Performance Award for Teaching Assistants. Nominations are now being accepted for the current (2012) award period, for CBS courses taught Spring through Fall 2012. TAs can be nominated by students taking a CBS course, or graduate students, faculty, and staff associated with a CBS course. Although the deadline is January 25, 2013, timely submissions are encouraged.

Please submit nominations to the TA Award Committee coordinator, Bruce Fall,, or by campus mail to 3-154 MCB. Please include the name of the TA, course, and a brief justification for the nomination. For more information, see the nomination form.

Mileage rate change

As of January 1, the standard business mileage reimbursement rate for personal vehicle use on approved University business increased from 55.5 cents to 56.5 cents per mile. See the Rates section of the Administrative Policy:Traveling on University Business. The standard mileage rate for moving expenses will increase from 23 cents to 24 cents per mile. Business mileage incurred in 2012 but reimbursed in 2013 should be reimbursed using the 2012 mileage rates.The Employee Expense Worksheet (UM1612) and the Moving/Relocation Expense Documentation Form (UM1357) have been updated to reflect the changes to the mileage rates.

Update to University travel policy

This is a reminder that the University Travel Policy now requires pre-travel registration of all staff/faculty international travel for University purposes. You can register your travel and review travel resources here. Note that this is NOT an approval process. Any travel approval requirement is still managed within the departments, units or colleges. More information.