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CBS News - March 26, 2003


Spring CBS Forum: “Promises and Perils of the Biological Sciences Revolution”
What can we do to ensure that biological knowledge coupled with technology solves problems instead of creating them? Scott Selleck, professor of genetics, cell biology and development, will share his thoughts with the CBS community at the Spring CBS Forum, Wednesday, April 16, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Coffman Theatre. His lecture is called “The Promise and Perils of the Revolution in the Biological Sciences.” The CBS Forum was created to showcase the work of outstanding researchers in each department, to identify opportunities for interdisciplinary research, and to build a sense of community within CBS. Departments rotate responsibility for presenting lectures. For more information contact Joline Bundlie,

CBS Legislative Calling Night
CBS needs faculty and staff volunteers for the legislative calling night on Tuesday, April 22 from 5 to 8 p.m. Volunteers will call alumni and friends to remind them to contact their legislators and ask them to support the University during the current budget crisis. CBS will be calling on the same night as volunteers from the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences and it would be great to have a better turn out than them. For more information or to sign up contact, Peggy Rinard,, or 612-624-0774.

CBS Year-End Picnic
Join the fun! Celebrate the end of the school year at the CBS Year-End Picnic Friday, May 9, 12 to 2 p.m. on the lawn in front of Snyder Hall and Gortner Labs. There will be:

  • Free food served by the deans, department heads, and faculty
  • Gifts for graduating seniors
  • Music
  • Door prizes

Pick up free tickets by May 2 in CBS department offices, Student Services, or the Dean’s Office.

Greenhouse plant sale
The Plant Biology Phytograds and The College of Biological Sciences Greenhouse will have a plant sale on Wednesday and Thursday, April 2 & 3, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The sale will be held at the St. Paul Student Center, room 108. Call Jodi Bjork at 625-4788 if you have questions.

Campaign Minnesota Celebrations
The University wants to say thank you to the more than 11,000 faculty and staff members who have made contributions during Campaign Minnesota. They will be honored with two celebrations, one on Northrop Mall and one on the St. Paul Campus Mall. Both will be from 12 to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, April 22. The programs will include free lunch.

John Hall Memorial Research Award
CBS Faculty and staff are eligible to apply for the John Hall Memorial Research Award in Evolutionary Plant Biology. Projects should address questions about the evolution of organisms including plants, algae, or fungi. For more information visit the plant biology office, or contact Odette Holter, at Applications are due in the Plant Biology office by April 15.

Cargill building to be dedicated on May 5
Dedication of the Cargill Building for Microbial and Plant Genomics  has been set for Monday, May 5, from 2 to 5 p.m. Claire Fraser, director of The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) in Washington, D.C., is the guest speaker. TIGR is considered the leading microbial genomics research institute in the country. Fraser, who has led efforts to sequence several microbial genomes, will participate in the ribbon-cutting ceremony, receive an honorary doctorate from the University, and deliver a scientific lecture. CBS nominated Fraser for the doctorate, which is the University's highest honor.

Pawlenty proposes biotechnology plan
Gov. Tim Pawlenty presented his vision to make Minnesota a world leader in biotechnology to the Minnesota Biotechnology Industry Organization (MNBIO) last month. He said every indicator suggests that the biotech revolution will change our economy as profoundly in this century as the microprocessor and the desktop computer did in the last century. He made a number of proposals, including:

  • Creating major partnerships in genomics and biotechnology between the University and the Mayo Clinic
  • Developing a ‘biotechnology park’ to attract cutting-edge biotechnology companies to Minnesota
  • Finding funding for a translational research facility at the University
  • Maintaining funding for biotechnology related research at the University despite budget constraints
  • Bringing together leaders from education, research, industry, political, and investment communities for a Governor’s Bioscience Summit

The Governor’s Bioscience Summit will be May 12.

Biotechnology in Minnesota
What does a typical Minnesota biotech company look like? According to recent report by the Minnesota Department of Trade and Economic Development, Minnesota biotech firms are usually small. Most employ fewer than 10 people and generate less than $5 million annually. More than two-thirds of them are located in the Twin Cities, and few have been in business for more than ten years. About half offer health related products and services. Finally, almost all of them say financing is their largest obstacle. Read the Trade Department's report online.

Renewable Energy and the Environment
There's a growing interest in a University Initiative on Renewable Energy and the Environment, which is being led by CBS, IT and COAFES. Dean Elde has testified on behalf of this effort at the capital several times over the past several weeks and will discuss the proposal again today for the Senate Commerce and Utilities Committee. The initiative could qualify for funds utility companies are required to pay to develop alternative energy.

Executive Vice President to speak at CBS commencement
Christine Maziar, Executive Vice President and Provost of the University, will speak at CBS Commencement on Saturday, May 17, at 7:30 p.m. in Northrop Auditorium. Stay tuned to CBS News for more details.

Library liaison now available to BMBB, GCD, and Microbiology
Kevin Messner is the new U Library liaison to BMBB, GCD, and Microbiology. Kevin has a Ph.D in Microbiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As liaison to these departments Kevin will:

  • Provide consultation on scientific research and instruction through the U libraries or other abstract index databases
  • Manage the library’s collections to meet the scientific literature needs of the departments
  • Be available for in classroom research projects

He also has extensive experience in bioinformatics research, and writing instruction. He is available to all students and faculty in these departments for help. Contact him at, or 612-624-7210.

Bioinformatics at the U
Did you know the Center for Computational Genomics and Bioinformatics (CCGB) and the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute (MSI) are both available to meet your bioinformatics needs? Check out to find out how each of these centers serves the University community, and links to their website.

Spring is in the air
The Amorphophallus Konjac is now in bloom at the CBS Greenhouses. The Konjac is a purple, fly-pollinated plant that blooms only once a year. Despite its beauty, it emits a strong odor, similar to rotting meat, to attract flies.

Tools for employees
In a time when many difficult budget decisions are being made that affect University employees, the University is expanding resources to provide employee support. This effort incorporates enhanced initiatives that will provide tools for managing change. The Office of Human Resources has established the following programs:

  • The Employee Career Enrichment Program includes workshops, individual career coaching, supervisor training, departmental consultation, and career information. Visit,
  • The Talent Resource Bank encourages non-renewed P&A staff to submit a resume that will be available to all hiring departments at the U.
  • The Toolkit for Managing During Times of Limited Resources details a benefit program provided to P&A as well as CS/BU employees who receive a non-renewal of appointment notice.


Rao Fu’s name was spelled incorrectly as Rao Ku in the last issue of CBS News. Fu presented her research, “Transcriptional Control of Potassium Channels in Pulmonary Vasculature,” during the “Impress the President” student expo last month.

Rex Lovrien, professor emeritus of biochemistry, passed away from complications related to heart disease. He earned a B.S. in biochemistry from the University of Iowa in 1953, and joined the department of Biochemistry a the U in 1965. His research interests were bioseparations, biorecognition, energetics, protein, and enzymology.

Events & Seminars

March 27
“Pathways that Couple Cell Growth and Division”
Mike Tyers, University of Toronto
2101 BSBE, 12 noon
Sponsored by GCD. Contact Judith Berman,

March 28
Second Annual Bioinformatics Symposium: “Building Bridges”
Memorial Hall McNamara Alumni Center, 8 a.m.

April 3
“Cytogenetic and Molecular Analysis of 7q36/12p13 Arrangements”
David Drubin, University of California, Berkeley
2101 BSBE, 12 noon
Sponsored by GCD. Contact Kathleen Conklin,

April 4
“Controlling Greenhouse Gases and Feeding the Globe through Soil Management”
Rattan Lal, Ohio State University
335 Borlaug Hall, 2 p.m.
Sponsored by Plant Biology. Contact Satish Gupta,

April 16
Spring CBS Forum: “The Promise and Perils of the Revolution in the Biological Sciences”
Scott Selleck, genetics, cell biology, and development
Coffman Theatre, 2 p.m.
Sponsored by the College of Biological Sciences
Contact Joline Bundlie,

April 22
CBS Legislative Calling Night
McNamara Alumni Center, 5 to 8 p.m.
To register contact Peggy Rinard,, or 612-624-0774

May 5
Cargill Building for Microbial and Plant Genomics Dedication
Featuring Claire Fraser of The Institute for Genomics Research
Lobby of the Cargill building, on the Corner of Gortner Ave. and Hendon Ave. on the St. Paul campus, 2 to 5 p.m.

May 9
CBS Year-End Picnic
Lawn in front of Snyder Hall and Gortner Labs, 12 to 2 p.m.
Pick up free tickets by May 2 in department offices, Student Services, or the Dean’s office.

May 17
CBS Commencement
Keynote address to be given by U Executive Vice President and Provost Christine Maziar
Northrop Auditorium, 7:30 p.m.