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Medical breakthroughs at the University of Cincinnati

Diagnosing heart disease
This fall, UC Health's nuclear medicine team became the region's first to offer an innovative cardiac-imaging test that results in better coronary-artery-disease diagnosis and fewer unnecessary invasive tests and surgical procedures. Known as ammonia-guided positron emission testing, these scans can pinpoint specific areas of compromised blood flow and more severe disease.

Early stage clinical trials open up cancer treatment options
UC's new Early Stage Drug Development program will give adult patients access to discovery-driven cancer treatment in an experimental, clinical-trial setting. For human-treatment applications, phase-1 trials, such as these, are the first step in testing scientific concepts revealed in laboratories. The program is the first of its kind within 120 miles of Greater Cincinnati.

UC's Kettering labs see extreme makeover
A $5 million economic-stimulus award from the National Institutes of Health will extensively renovate UC's environmental health laboratories inside the Kettering research complex.

Researchers find lead causes permanent injury
The Cincinnati Lead Study, a long-term collaborative research project involving UC environmental health and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, has found that adults who were exposed to lead as children incur permanent brain injury. The study used functional magnetic resonance imaging to evaluate brain function.

UC adds night-vision goggles for helicopter pilots
University Hospital's Air Care and Mobile Care team is now using sophisticated night-vision goggles mounted to their helmets to amplify light 30,000-50,000 times. The goggles give pilots a daylight-clear view of the night sky, helping them avoid hazards near highway accident scenes or on dark landing sites.

Major grant to help in demystifying aneurysms
UC neurology researchers received $8 million from the National Institutes of Health to continue researching genes responsible for the formation and rupture of intracranial aneurysms. Identifying the genes that make individuals susceptible to the aneurysms could lead to the development of improved screening, diagnosis and prevention.

Studying BPA's link to heart disease
UC scientists received a $1.6 million grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Science to re-search the effects of Bisphenol A (BPA) and other plastic compounds on the heart and reproductive system. The environmental estrogen is found in hard plastics and is thought to be linked to neurological defects and certain cancers.

CARE/Crawley certified green
The UC Academic Health Center's CARE/Crawley Building, which opened in September 2008, boasts some of the most technically advanced -- and greenest -- laboratory research space currently available in the nation. In December, the building was awarded Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, which provides independent verification that a building project is both a healthy and environmentally responsible place to live and work.

20th anniversary of Berlin Wall's fall

Twenty years ago when all 96 miles of the Berlin Wall were torn down, many UC students had not yet been born, but today they have a professor who had personally documented it for them through photos -- Richard Schade, UC professor of German studies and honorary consul of Germany.

Schade's photos were part of three months' worth of anniversary events that took place at UC last fall, including an international research conference, an exhibit at Langsam Library, a commemorative concert at the College-Conservatory of Music, a film festival, as well as related classes, lectures and a multi-discipline study-abroad course for honors students.

"The fall of the Berlin Wall still seems fresh, as an event in recent history, to many of us," Schade says. "But it is important to inform this new generation because, to many of them, it already seems like ancient history.

"In November 1989, the dean of A&S had sent me to Munich to represent UC, and I took a private fight to Berlin to take it all in. I was moved to tears at witnessing the celebration -- an eyewitness to history, to say the least."

A year ago, the German Embassy designated UC as one of only a handful of collegiate partners in the "Freedom Without Walls" celebration honoring the 20th anniversary of the wall's demise. "It was a very nice honor for UC," Schade says.

The city's involvement in the anniversary was also significant, with 25 events scheduled. By early summer, a 13-foot-high, 2.5-ton piece of the Berlin Wall will be permanently installed outside the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. It's an appropriate setting, he says: "The wall is a symbol of freedom overcoming totalitarian repressionism. And the location sits next to the Ohio River, which was essentially a wall for escaping slaves."

UC considered military friendly

Deemed a military-friendly school for 2010 by G.I. Jobs, UC finds itself among the nation's top 15 percent of higher-education institutions that are successfully embracing American veterans as students. UC's efforts include participation in the federal Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program for post-911 veterans, specialized counseling services, distance-learning options, Army and Air Force ROTC programs, special recruitment and retention efforts, and clearance for military students who are called to active duty to later return to UC without penalties for

Bearcat named national mascot
of the year

The Bearcat mascot, normally content as sideline entertainment, took center stage last football season when he was named the Capital One National Mascot of the Year.

Each year, Capital One chooses a dozen college mascots from video submissions to compete for daily online votes throughout the season. Thanks to UC fans, Cincinnati's favorite furry critter piled up the most ballots from the millions cast. In the end, the Bearcat edged out Navy's Bill the Goat and was crowned on national TV during the Capital One Bowl on New Year's Day.

"It was a tremendous experience," says the suited student Bearcat, who insists on anonymity. "Having the opportunity to be involved with such well-respected competition was amazing. It is just huge exposure for UC."

Throughout the competition, the Bearcat appeared in a series of commercials as part of a national advertising campaign featuring the eclectic creatures and their "mascot trainer," former pro quarterback Doug Flutie.

"It was awesome to go out to L.A. and hang out with Doug Flutie for three days during shooting," the Bearcat says. "Obviously when you are with 11 other guys who are mascots and have pretty colorful personalities, things can be quite a bit of fun."

Each school's mascot program was awarded $5,000, but UC took home an additional $15,000 for winning, some of which will be used to purchase camera equipment that will come in handy when entering future competitions.

Mike Thomas, UC's director of athletics, thanks fans for their votes and credits students Matt Silverstein and Brad Wurthman for coordinating UC's campaign. Silverstein says a big key to winning was their reliance on social media to inform fans and drive votes from Facebook and Twitter.

"It also definitely helped that we had such a great football team and all the national exposure we've been getting," he adds. Visit CapitalOneBowl.com to view all the Bearcat's TV spots.

Wanted: Science AND math teachers

Joining a national effort to fill a shortage of math and science teachers, UC administrators have pledged to plug more graduates into those professions.

UC President Gregory Williams signed on with 40 other public research universities in January to at least double the number of graduates from science- and math-teacher prep programs by 2015. For Cincinnati, the goal is an additional 60 graduates a year heading into middle and high school classrooms and labs.

The initiative is part of the Science and Mathematics Teacher Imperative sponsored by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

Clermont honors McDonough

UC honored retiring UC Clermont College Dean James McDonough, PhD (A&S) '68, MBA '81, and his 44 years of service by renaming the Educational Services Building after the longtime administrator and his wife, Kathryn, MA (Ed) '89.

UC's Board of Trustees approved the naming of James and Kathryn McDonough Hall, a move that recognizes a career that spanned five decades as a faculty member, administrator and dean.

"Words cannot express the affection we feel for the college and the appreciation for this unique and very special honor," McDonough said.

Students design better hospital trays

Hospital tray designed by DAAP students.

Industrial design students and faculty in UC's College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning have partnered with the College of Nursing to create a hospital tray table for the 21st century. Through interviews and role-playing exercises that allowed students to experience tray tables as hospital patients, they found that current trays offer insufficient space, are difficult to maneuver and make no accommodations for laptops, cell phones and other electronic devices.

In response, students created redesigns that include tray tables that expand to offer more useable surface area and trays integrated with walkers.

The project is the latest tackled by UC as part of the Live Well Collaborative, which connects students and faculty with international firms to conduct research and develop ideas to improve comfort items in medical and home settings. Previously, students created designs for new hospital gowns. Next, they will examine possibilities for improved walkers.

DAAP programs earn top rank

Continuing a decade-long trend, four UC design programs have once again been named among the top 10 programs in the country by DesignIntelligence, which released its 2010 rankings of U.S. architecture and design schools as voted by employers in the field.

Interior Design No. 1 -- UC's interior design program has ranked No. 1 or 2 in the nation for the last 10 years.

Architecture No. 6 -- UC's graduate architecture program ranked No. 6.

Industrial Design No. 4 and 5 -- UC was named as having the No. 4 industrial design program for undergraduate studies, ahead of Ohio State University, and the No. 5 program for graduate studies.

Internationally, UC's School of Design was featured in a BusinessWeek special report on the world's premier design schools, which named the program, and particularly the master's degree offered by the school, among leading programs in London, New York and Hong Kong.

CCM Prof. Awadagin Pratt plays White House

In November, Awadagin Pratt, College-Conservatory of Music keyboard studies professor and pianist, tickled the ivories for President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama as part of a classical music day at the White House that included two concerts, as well as working with piano students from around the country.

The New York Times recognized Pratt as one of "four acclaimed American musicians" to perform at the event.

Broadway's Faith Prince headlines commencement

Faith Prince, an award-winning actress of stage, film and TV, addressed graduates during UC's 190th Commencement in December. Prince, CCM '79, who graduated "Most Talented" in the musical theater program and is perhaps best known for her Tony Award-winning performance in "Guys and Dolls," encouraged graduates entering a difficult economic climate to expect the unexpected. "As an artist, I learned early on to live day-to-day with the constant uncertainty of life. Embrace it!"

Prince received an honorary doctor of performing arts, one of three honorary degrees UC awarded during the ceremony. Philip Cox, president and chief executive officer of Cox Financial Corp., received an honorary doctorate of humane letters, and Richard Thornburgh, Bus '74, partner and vice chairman of the private equity firm Corsair Capital, received an honorary doctor of commercial science.