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CBS News - September 2005


CBS welcomes five students from New Orleans schools

I am delighted to tell you that the College of Biological Sciences welcomed five students from universities affected by hurricane Katrina earlier this month. The University’s quick actions to streamline the admissions process and to waive tuition helped make this process as easy as possible for them. I know all of you are as pleased as I am that they are here, and will join me in helping them to feel at home.

The new students are:

  • Katrina Jones, a junior from Xavier University majoring in biology. Katrina, who is from North Minneapolis, plans to become a pharmacist.
  • Yiyang Zhou, an undergraduate from Tulane University      
  • Maxwell Behrens, an undergraduate from Tulane University
  • Samuel Starkman, an undergraduate from Tulane University
  • Jesse Peterson, a first-year graduate student from Tulane University, who is now in a graduate program in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics.  Jesse’s undergraduate degree is from UW River Falls, and he worked for 3M for two years.

There are two related opportunities that I would like to share with you.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has launched a web site to connect researchers affected by the hurricane with AAAS members and others who have volunteered to provide access to resources and other forms of help. Members of the scientific community are invited to join this effort. The site also includes a set of links to other society and government agency initiatives. The site address is

We have also received an appeal from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to assist students and colleagues at Xavier University, an historically black college and long-standing HHMI grantee, which has been among the institutions hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina.  As a result of the hurricane, Xavier faculty members are now dispersed around the country, typically without employment or connections to their colleagues.

HHMI will offer Xavier faculty members in science-related fields support to join laboratories or academic institutions until the University reopens.  In some cases, they may wish to be accompanied by one or more members of their research group, which could include students or staff.  They ask you and your colleagues to consider providing space as well as scientific and educational camaraderie for one or more Xavier faculty.  The HHMI Grants office and Dr. Tuajuanda Jordan, Xavier’s Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, will help match interested Xavier faculty with the HHMI network of scientists and science educators.  HHMI will provide a monthly stipend directly to Xavier faculty.  In addition, support will be available to cover costs incurred by the recipient laboratory. 

If you are interested in hosting Xavier faculty, please send a brief email to as soon as possible.

Bob Elde



CBS faculty tapped for U strategic task forces

Several CBS faculty have been named to co-chair task forces that will carry out the next phase of the University’s strategic positioning plan.

  • Robin Wright,  Undergraduate Reform: Student Support
  • David Tilman,  Undergraduate Reform: Honors
  • David Bernlohr, College Design: Science/Engineering
  • Claudia Neuhauser, College Design: Science/Engineering

Each of the 34 task forces identified by President Bruininks has two or three faculty

Co-chairs. Task force leaders and members met September 16 for an all-day retreat and work session to begin work on transforming this very good University into a great one. 

President Bruininks joins ‘Habitat for Biologists’ volunteer crew

President Robert Bruininks, and his wife, Susan Hagstrom, will help ‘Habitat for Biologists’ volunteers build a new cabin for women students at the university’s Itasca Biological Station and Laboratories on Sunday, Sept. 25.

The new cabin for women students is the first Habitat for Biologists construction project. It replaces a cabin that was condemned and demolished last fall. A professional crew laid the foundation, installed utilities, and constructed the frame and roof, and volunteer crews have been working throughout the month to raise the walls and shingle the roof.

The College of Biological Sciences raised $50,000 from alumni and friends to build the cabin. John Tester, professor emeritus of ecology, is leading a campaign to raise $150,000 to restore a three-bedroom log cabin built in 1911. There are 34 cabins and 12 laboratories and classrooms at the field station, many of which need work.

‘The Environmental Impact of Agriculture and Energy Use: Genomics and Biomass/Bioenergy’

CBS faculty and staff are invited to attend  “The Environmental Impact of Agriculture and Energy Use - Genomics and Biomass / Bioenergy,” on September 26-27, 2005, at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus. The conference follows up on last year’s conference in Norway, titled “A Research & Technology Seminar at the Intersection of Energy, Agriculture, and Biotechnology”.

Mark your calendars for Fall Fest

Mark you calendars to attend the Second Annual Fall Fest, which will be on Sunday, October 9. Attendees can taste new food developed at the U of M; learn about new research from faculty; See live eagles, hawks, owls, and falcons at The Raptor Center; tour the dairy barn, display garden, and galleries; and enjoy a performance by the Chang Mi Korean Dance & Drum group. Enjoy the Harvest Bowl Brunch for 50 cents and park for free in the Gortner ramp! Visit for more information.

CBS elected representatives for 2005-2006

Congratulations to all of the following CBS faculty and staff who have been elected to represent their peers for the 2005-2006 academic year.

Senate Elections:

Newly elected Senators:  James Fuchs

Continuing Senators:  David Fan, Alan Hooper, Sue Gibson and Rick Peifer

Council of Academic Professionals and Administrators Election (2005-2008)

Fred Dulles

Academic Professional and Administrative Staff Representatives:

Consultative Committee: Scott Gilbertson

Educational Policy Committee: Sara Corrigan

Civil Service /Bargaining Unit Representative:

Consultative Committee: M. Jane Albeck

Scientific/Technical Representative

Consultative Committee:  Sandra Mackey

Even Mother Nature Loves Maroon and Gold

This year's poster and note cards feature Thunbergia mysorensis, a member of the Acanthaceae family and a large woody vine from the tropical mountains of southern India. Photographed by University Relations photographer Patrick O'Leary in the College of Biological Sciences greenhouse, Twin Cities campus in St. Paul.  For more information, call 624-6868.

University of Minnesota hosts Midwest postdoc symposium

The U of MN Postdoctoral Association will host the First Upper Midwest Postdoctoral Symposium in the Coffman Great Hall and Theater, Friday, October 7, 2005.

BMBB featured in National Postdoctoral Association newsletter

BMBB is again featured as a model department for postdoctoral training practices, this time in the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) Newsletter, The POSTDOCket.  Page 3 contains a perspective on "Recommended Departmental Practices: Giving Postdocs Order", while the Upper Midwest Postdoctoral Symposium, to be held at U of MN, is featured in the cover story, "The NPA Annual Meeting: A Springboard for Local Activity".

Want to be an entrepreneur? Interested in technology innovation?

The Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Carlson School of Management is creating a campus-wide faculty research discussion group to carry out and support cross-disciplinary research for those faculty members who have an interest in entrepreneurship and technology innovation. For more information, contact Sharon Hansen at, or 624-0226.


Robert Zink (EEB) has been awarded the William Brewster Memorial Award from the American Ornithologists Union, the oldest and largest ornithology organization in the United States. The award, which is AOU's top honor, recognizes the best body of work on birds in the western hemisphere published during the preceding 10 years.


Joe McFadden (EEB) is a lead author of a paper released September 22 on Science Express, The title is “Role of Land Surface Change in Arctic Summer Warming.”

Romas Kazlauskas (BMBB)wrote a News and Views article titled “Enzymes in Focus” for the August 25 issue of Nature.


Daniel Bond ( BTI, Microbiology) $168,429 from NSF for “Miniaturization of Mediatorless Microbial Fuel Cells for High-Throughput Studies of Bacteria-Electrode Interactions.”

James Cotner (EEB) and Kristopher McNeill (Chemistry) $615,188 from NSF for "Singlet Oxygen's Role in the Photochemical-Biochemical Degradation of Dissolved Organic Carbon."

James Cotner (EEB) $180,000 from NSF for “Ecological Stoichiometry and the Relevance of Prokaryotic Heterotroph Biodiversity.”

Gary Nelsestuan (BMBB) $98,728 from the National Bone Marrow Donor Program for “Centralized Lab Services: Serum Protein Profiling.”

Peter Tiffin and colleagues (Plant Biology)  $261,480 from NSF for "Collaborative Research:  Ecological and Evolutionary-Genetic Limits to Range Expansion."

Kate VandenBosch (Plant Biology) $140,000 from the NSF for “Defensin-like genes in two modl plant species: expression, function and genome organization of a large gene family.”


Chromatin and Chromosomes in Development

14th Annual Developmental Biology Symposium
September 26 and 27, 2005
Coffman Memorial Union

Bud Tordoff on Peregrine Falcons

Wednesday, October 5, noon-1 p.m.
Sunday, October 16, 1-2 p.m.

Harrison (Bud) Tordoff a member of the team that reintroduced peregrines to Minnesota, will discuss peregrines falcons and the story of their remarkable comeback. Tordoff is professor emeritus of ecology. Ages 10 and up. Free with museum admission.

Bell Museum of Natural History

Changing Energy Policy to Benefit the Environment and Human Health

Daniel M. Kammen, University of California-Berkeley
Lunch Series on the Societal Implications of the Life Sciences
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
12:15pm – 1:30pm
Theater, St. Paul Student Center

Visions of Nature: The World of Walter Anderson

November 5, 2005 through February 5, 2006
Opening Event: November 4, 6-9 p.m.

Artist Walter Inglis Anderson (1903-1965), who was schizophrenic, lived most of his adult life in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, where he painted the native flora and fauna of the Gulf Coast and nearby islands. The Bell Museum brings Anderson's work to a Minnesota audience for the first time, in an exhibition that explores the intersection of art, nature, and science. A preview and reception on Friday, November 4, features Patricia Pinson, curator of the Walter Anderson Museum of Art. Pinson will speak at 7 p.m. about Anderson's life and his transformational forays into the wild.

12th Annual Midwest Microbial Pathogenesis Conference

October 14-16 at the Holiday Inn Metrodome and Coffman Memorial Union.
Hosted by the Department of Microbiology

Symposia and poster sessions by and for researchers interested in infectious
disease mechanisms of pathogenesis and interaction of bacteria with the host
immune system.