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CBS News - May 2013

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Sarah Hobbie elected to National Academy of Sciences

Sarah Hobbie (EEB) has been elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) making her one of only 12 living NAS members at the University of Minnesota and the only U of M faculty member elected this year. She studies how the changing global cycles of carbon and nitrogen interact with each other; for example, how excess nitrogen in the environment affects the decomposition of plant matter. “I was shocked, honored and humbled,” Hobbie says. “There are so many other deserving people. I have a responsibility to step up to the role and make a difference. It’s a great opportunity to help society solve environmental problems.”

College receives award to advance diversity effort

The CBS Diversity Collaborative, a small grassroots group of CBS faculty, staff and graduate students, has received a University of Minnesota Equity and Diversity Transformation Award for its proposal titled “Fostering a Self-Reflective Community.” The award will allow the college to build on a collaboration with Twin Cities-based photographer Wing Young Huie, who has explored issues of identity in his work over decades. So far, CBS has hosted two workshops with Huie — one with CBS Dean’s Scholars last spring and one with a small group of faculty and Student Services staff this fall. Check out photos from the Dean's Scholars workshop. 

Bob Brambl receives Dagley-Kirkwood Award

Bob Brambl (PBIO) has received the 2013 Stanley Dagley-Samuel Kirkwood Undergraduate Education Award. The award honors faculty who have made important contributions to undergraduate education, including classroom presentation, educational innovation and curriculum development. Brambl has taught cell biology (BIOL 4004) for the past 19 years, during which he has continually sought to improve the course by incorporating advances from scientific literature and developing creative new ways to explain challenging concepts, including web-based videos and animations.

Watch CBS commencement live online

Can’t make it to commencement but still want to see a favorite student walk across the stage or hear Kerri Miller’s speech? You can watch a live web stream beginning at 7:30 p.m. May 18.

Student Services wins outstanding unit, best of region awards

CBS Student Services received the 2013 P&A Senate Outstanding Unit Award. One of ten units that submitted nominations, Student Services was selected based on its practices supporting and enhancing the careers of Professional and Academic (P&A) employees, P&A involvement in decision-making, and their contributions to the University community. In addition, Lisa Novack and Nikki Letawsky Shultz presented a session on student learning assessment at the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) regional conference earlier this month. “Beyond Smile Sheets: Measuring Student Learning in Advising Appointments and Events” was named “Best of Region” by the conference attendees and will be featured at the NACADA national conference this fall.

Plus, check out photos from ...

2013 CBS Year-End Picnic

More than 600 faculty, students and staff braved the rain for the annual picnic held this year on Northrop Plaza.

Foundations Poster Session

Foundations of Biology students showed off the fruits of their research labor at a poster session May 8.

CBS Day @ Gopher Baseball

CBS cheered on undergrads Troy Larson and Jake Bergren, centerfielders for the Gophers, May 10 at Siebert Field.


CBS in the News

Marlene Zuk (EEB) is credited by Public Radio International as advisor for Isabella Rossellini's new film series, “Mammas,” which premiered in the United States on the Sundance channel on Mother's Day, May 14. Favorable reviews of Zuk’s new book, Paleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells Us About Sex, Diet and How We Live, keep coming in. The latest from PopSci, the Guardian (UK), KPOP Starz,, Science News, Japan Times and

Craig Packer (EEB) wrote a commentary, “Good fences make safe lions,” published by the Los Angeles Times on April 25. The article advocates for creating enclosed reserves in Africa to protect people from lions and lions from people because the encroachment of human civilization on lion habitats is endangering both. Packer was also quoted in a Times of India story on the same topic. 

Sarah Hobbie (EEB) was interviewed on MPR and featured on the U of M homepage about her recent election to the National Academy of Sciences for groundbreaking research on the role of decomposition in the carbon cycle.

Daniel Bond and Jeff Gralnick (Microbiology/BTI) were featured in a story titled “Electrifying Potential” on the U of M homepage about their MnDrive research on bacteria that use electricity to remove toxic metals released into the environment by mining.

Dan Voytas (GCD) was quoted in a Nature news feature May 1 about advanced genetic manipulation techniques such as his (Transcription Activator-Like Nucleases or TALENs) allowing highly precise editing of a plant’s own genome that could reduce the need to modify crops with genes from other species, the most controversial approach to genetic modification. TALENS allows researchers to cut DNA at precise locations and replace single genes.

Tony Dean (EEB/BTI) and Romas Kazlauskas (BMBB/BTI) were quoted in a recent article in Chemical and Engineering News article titled “Bringing Ancient Proteins to Life.” The story was inspired by a symposium the two organized for the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Boston in February.


David McLaughlin (PBIO) is retiring from CBS this month. Stuart Goldstein (GCD) will retire at the end of August.

Justin Kaffenberger (Bioproducts & Biosystems Engineering), Paul Nelson (Biology), James Tumulty (EEB), Adrienne Watson (MCDB&G), Jordan Becker (BMBB), Aunica Kane (BMBB) and Dana Strandjord (MCDB&G) received 2013 CBS Outstanding Performance Award for Teaching Assistants.

Congratulations to CBS staff celebrating milestone work anniversaries this year. 20 years of service: Daniel Bahauddin, Evelyn Juliussen, Brian Ruis, Azizollah Zrabkhazaeli and Elena Aronovich. 25 years of service: John Kettinger, Ann Hertzel, Lori Nicol, Sarah Borgen, Sandra Stoup and Mark McClellan. 30 years of service: Lisa Wiggins, Jon Ross and Kay Biermaier.

Yoko Ishida, physiology and neuroscience undergraduate, has received a Fulbright Student Scholarship to conduct biomedical research in Japan.

Alexander Hron, a biochemistry and chemistry undergraduate, has received a DAAD Summer Research Internship in Germany.

CBS undergraduate students Margaret Shevik and Emma Filtz presented posters summarizing their undergraduate directed research results at the annual Pediatric Academic Societies meeting May 7 in Washington, D.C. Their research advisor is Cheryl Gale, associate professor of pediatrics and genetics, cell biology and development.

Sarah Weatherman, microbiology undergraduate, received the Student Leader of the Semester Award for spring 2013. The award is given each term to a student who has shown excellent leadership skills in their Student Leader position with the Biology Colloquium program.


May 18

CBS Undergraduate Commencement

Kerri Miller, a Minnesota Public Radio host and award-winning journalist, will speak at this year’s undergraduate commencement. Registration to paricipate is closed, but the ceremony is open to the public for faculty and staff interested in attending.

Mariucci Arena | East Bank | 7:30 p.m.

May 23

Chemistry Biology Interface Training Grant Symposium

This day-long event was designed to highlight new advances at the interface of chemistry and biology, and to facilitate interactions between graduate students and distinguished faculty.

3-120 MCB | East Bank | 8:30 a.m. | Register to attend by May 13

June 6

Not Just for Scientists Anymore: Why the Public Should Care About the Connection Between Groundwater and Lakes, Streams and Wetlands

CBS and the Freshwater Society will host Don Rosenberry from the U.S. Geological Survey    who will discuss the role of diminishing groundwater in the shrinking of lakes and streams. Rosenberry will explain how tapping groundwater to support growth in the White Bear Lake region has caused the lake, which is fed by groundwater, to shrink.

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

June 8

Red-Headed Woodpecker Festival

Spend a day observing the red-headed woodpecker population at Cedar Creek, and learn about efforts underway to preserve their numbers across the state.

Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve | East Bethel | 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. | map + directions


CBS Outstanding Performance Award for TAs

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 (2013) award period, for CBS courses taught spring through fall 2013.

To submit a nomination, please complete the CBS Outstanding Performance Award nomination form and send it by campus mail to 3-154 MCB.


For more information, please contact Cheryl Scott (