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CBS News - May 2005

Basking in the glory of CBS year-end awards

One of my greatest pleasures as dean is hearing about all the awards that find their way to CBS faculty, staff, and students at the end of the year. I can’t help feeling like a proud parent. Every year the ‘kids’ seem to do better than last year. And this year is no exception. Here are a few examples:

Luke Robinson
Donald Zander Award for Outstanding Student Leadership
Only two of these highly competitive awards are given to UMTC students each year.

Claudia Neuhauser
Best Director of Graduate Studies
Claudia continued as director of graduate studies for EEB, even after becoming department head. She contributes to CBS in many other ways.

Stuart Goldstein
Dagley/Kirkwood Undergraduate Education Award
Stu, a Cal Tech graduate and CBS faculty member for more than three decades, has taught tens of thousands of students and guided curriculum development and educational policy.

Mervyn de Sousa
Alumni Service Award
Mervyn, who earned his Ph.D. at CBS, is now a Cargill scientist. His guidance is invaluable to me and to our students.

John Anderson, Jon Ross, Beatrice (Bebe) Magee
President’s Award for Outstanding Service
Three of this year’s seven awards went to CBS faculty, which says a lot about the culture of our college.

Anne Pusey
Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
This award is one of the nation’s highest honors. Tom Brokaw, William Rehnquist, Horton Foote, and Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page were also named AAAS Fellows this year.

All of these individuals are very busy people who excel at everything they do; yet somehow they find the time and energy to help make the College of Biological Sciences a great place to learn and work.

See the People section below for names of other award winners. If we missed you, please drop a note to Peggy Rinard.

My sincere thanks to all faculty, staff, and students for everything you do for CBS. Have a wonderful summer.

Best regards,

Bob Elde
Dean, College of Biological Sciences

Strategic Planning

President Bob Bruininks’ recommendations for strategic planning are posted at They include integrating CNR and COAFES into a single unit, focusing University-wide strengths in environmental sciences, and improving synergies among CBS, IT, the Medical School, and the new CNR/COAFES unit. Bruininks presented his recommendations to the Board of Regents on May 12-13. Meanwhile, Dean Elde has been meeting with departments to discuss CBS strategic planning; specifically, to identify ‘infusions’ of knowledge and technology that will enable the college to take advantage of emerging opportunities in biology. Regents are expected to vote on Bruininks’ suggestions at their June meeting.

Curriculum Task Force Report

The Curriculum Task Force presented a plan for a new year-long course sequence for biology majors called “Foundations in Biology” at the All-College Meeting on May 10. The new course will cover core principles of evolution, ecology, organismal biology, biochemistry, genetics, and cell biology using an experiential approach. Units will be integrated to emphasize relationships among biological disciplines as well as relationships among biology and physical sciences, math, engineering, and computer science. The course will also focus on development of quantitative skills as applied to biological problems. The task force, led by Associate Dean Robin Wright, solicited suggestions from faculty and students at the meeting. The group plans to forward their final recommendations to the CBS Educational Policy Committee for approval by September, 2005. Upon approval, the college will implement the recommendations by fall, 2007.

CBS Year-End Picnic

More than 700 students, faculty, and staff (a record number) turned out for the College of Biological Sciences annual picnic on Friday, May 6 to celebrate the last day of classes. Dean Elde extends his thanks to all volunteers who helped to make this event a success.

CBS Commencement 2005

An expected 260 CBS graduates crossed the stage at Northrop Auditorium at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 14 to receive their diplomas, which were presented by Regent David Larson and Dean Elde. Victor Bloomfield, professor of biochemistry, molecular biology, and biophysics, was the Mace Bearer. Stephen Oesterle, Senior Vice President for Medicine and Technology at Medtronic was the commencement speaker. Jacqueline Youtsos, who will begin medical school in the fall, was the student speaker. A total of 350 students completed undergraduate degree programs at CBS this year.

University Enterprise Laboratories

Dean Elde and Peter Bianco are on the cover of the May-June issue of Minnesota magazine. The cover story, A Boost for Bioscience, is about University Enterprise Laboratories. Elde, who led development of the effort, is chairman of the UEL Board of Directors. Bianco is chief executive officer. The story also features ANDX and Stent Tech, two university start-ups that will be among the first companies to move into the incubator. Construction of UEL wet labs is nearing completion. Watch for details about the UEL grand opening, which is planned for August 1.

Life Sciences Undergraduate Research Symposium

Photos from the annual Life Sciences Undergraduate Research Symposium are posted on the CBS Events Photo Gallery. About 115 students participated in the event, which was held in Coffman Union’s Great Hall on April 27. Frank Barnwell, director of the CBS Honors Program, and Rogene Schnell, associate director, planned and coordinated the event. John Anderson provided the photos.

Life Sciences Summer Undergraduate Research Program

About 42 students from throughout the U.S. will arrive at CBS on June 2 for the Life Sciences Summer Undergraduate Research Program. The goal of the program is to increase the diversity of students in UM life science graduate programs. During the 10-week session, each student will carry out a research project guided by a faculty mentor. The program will conclude with a poster symposium and banquet on August 12.

St. Paul Saints Game

Join CBS alumni, faculty, staff, and students for the St. Paul Saints game at Midway Stadium on Friday, June 24. Tickets are $19 per person, which includes a reserved seat and dinner at Twig's Place, located along the first base line at field level. Space is limited, so register soon.

U Senate to include P&A, Civil Service representatives

The Board of Regents has approved amendments to the University Senate constitution that will allow for the inclusion of senators representing the Council of Academic and Professional Administrators (CAPA) and the Civil Service Committee (CSC) in the University Senate, effective July 1, 2005. CAPA elected senators in April. The Civil Service Committee is currently holding elections.

University Retirees Association invites members

The University of Minnesota Retirees Association (UMRA) invites retired CBS faculty and staff to join the nearly 600 faculty and staff who are members of the association. UMRA represents the rights and interests of university retirees, holds monthly Campus Club luncheons with guest speakers, and sponsors the Retirees Volunteer Center. For more information, visit or contact UMRA president John Howe at


Trendwatch will return in the next issue of CBS news.



Anne Pusey, Distinguished McKnight University Professor, has been elected a 2005 Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Other awardees include journalist Tom Brokaw; Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist; Nobel Prize-winning physicist Eric Cornell; actor Sidney Poitier; dramatist Horton Foote; sculptor-architect Maya Lin, who designed the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Washington, D.C.; filmmaker John Sayles; and Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. Pusey is director of the Jane Goodall Institute for Primate Studies at the U of M and executive director of research for the worldwide Jane Goodall Institute.

Michael O'Connor, genetics, cell biology, and development, published an article in the March 25, 2005 issue of the journal Cell titled “Facilitated Transport of a Dpp/Scw Heterodimer by Sog/Tsg Leads to Robust Patterning of the Drosophila Blastoderm Embryo.” O’Connor is Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor and holder of the Ordway Chair. He conducted the research, which relies on mathematical modeling, in collaboration with Hans Othmer, professor of mathematics in the Institute of Technology. Osamu Shimmi, GCD post-doc, and David Umulis, IT graduate student, also contributed. To read the abstract, go to

John Anderson, Jon Ross, and Beatrice (Bebe) Magee will receive the 2005 President’s Award for Outstanding Service. Anderson, professor of biochemistry, molecular biology, and biophysics, is director of the General Biology Program. Ross is adjunct associate in EEB and station biologist and associate director of Itasca Biological Station and Laboratories. Magee is a senior scientist in genetics, cell biology, and development.

Luke Robinson, BMBB honors undergraduate and CBS Leadership Council member, is the winner of the 2005 Donald R. Zander Award for Outstanding Student Leadership. This is the University's top student leadership award. The award, which carries a $1,000 scholarship, is given to one male and one female U of M student annually based on academic achievement, leadership, service, and character.

Stuart Goldstein, professor of genetics, cell biology, and development, is recipient of the 2005 Stanley Dagley-Samuel Kirkwood Undergraduate Education award. Goldstein has been a CBS faculty member for more than three decades. During this time, he has taught literally tens of thousands of undergraduates. In addition, he has been a leader in curriculum development and instruction, serving as Director of Undergraduate Studies in Genetics and as chair of the Educational Policy Committee.

Claudia Neuhauser, ecology, evolution, and behavior, is a recipient of the 2005 Best Directors of Graduate Studies (DGS) Award. Neuhauser, along with six other winners, were recognized at a ceremony hosted by the Graduate School on May 5.

Emily Johnson and Nikki Letawsky Shultz are among 25 University employees selected for the President's Emerging Leaders' Program, which offers outstanding P & A, Civil Service, and Bargaining Unit staff opportunities to develop leadership skills. The 12-month program includes educational seminars and a group project.

Thea Fleming and Cecile Lamour, CBS undergrads, were recognized in the Big Ten Athletic Conference as Academic All American members of the Women's Swimming & Diving team.

Sehoya Cotner and Mark Decker will represent the College of Biological Sciences at the 2005 Bioethics Institute, to be held May 23-27 at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

Brian Van Ness, professor and head of GCD, participated in the launch of Bank On A Cure®, the first myeloma-specific, cancer-patient DNA bank in history. Bank On A Cure was created to advance research, to provide better treatments in the short term, and to find a cure for multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells in the bone marrow.

Ross Johnson will step in as interim department head of genetics, cell biology, and development for a year beginning July, 2005, while Brian Van Ness is on sabbatical. Ross is professor and associate head of GCD.

EEB graduate students Noelle Beckman (Advisor: Helene Muller-Landau) and Bonnie Keeler (Advisor: Sarah Hobbie) have been awarded NSF Research Fellowships. Will Ratcliff (Advisor: Ford Denison), Kyle Whittinghill (Advisors: Sarah Hobbie and Jacques Finlay), and Emily Wroblewski (Advisor: Anne Pusey) received honorable mentions. Leslie Brandt (Advisor: Jennifer King) received an honorable mention for her NSF Research Fellowship proposal.

Jim Russell, former EEB graduate student, won the Graduate School’s 2005 Best Dissertation Award for biological and medical sciences. Jim received his Ph.D. in 2004.

Eville Gorham, EEB emeritus professor, won the Society of Wetland Scientists 2005 Life-time Achievement Award for his distinguished and extensive contributions to research, education, and policy in wetland science and management.

Teresa Nick, assistant professor of neuroscience, won a John Merck Scholars Award, which supports studies of mental and emotional disabilities in children. Nick will receive $75,000 per year for four years.

Katy Heath, plant biology graduate student, created the cover art for the April issue of Evolution. Her drawing illustrated an article by David Moeller, plant biology post-doctoral fellow. Katy and Dave are members of Peter Tiffin's laboratory.

Sean Polster, CBS undergrad, received the Student Leader of the Semester Award from the Biology Colloquium Program.

May 17-19, 2005
Practical NMR Workshop
Emphasis on small molecules
Structural Biology NMR Resource
Contact: Beverly Ostrowski at for more details or see

June 23-24
International Conference on Transposition and Animal Biotechnology
McNamara Alumni Center
Sponsored by the Beckman Center

through July 3

Upstream Flying Fishing in the American West and Tricking Fish: How and Why Lures Work
"Upstream" offers a unique look at the centuries-old tradition of angling through a series of dramatic black-and-white photos of streams and fly fishing, as well as displays of fish and other animals from Minnesota's streams. "Tricking Fish" unravels the mystery of what makes fish bite-or not bite. Photographs and hands-on objects provide observant anglers with insights into the fish's point of view. The exhibit also shows how fish adapt to face a world full of predators