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Inside Uptown & 'Round About

Medical breakthroughs & news

Hot topic – A potentially harmful chemical commonly found in certain plastic bottles may be released when those bottles are heated, according to University of Cincinnati scientists. Researcher Scott Belcher and his team found that when the same new and used polycarbonate drinking bottles were exposed to boiling water, an environmental estrogen, BPA, was released 55 times more rapidly than before exposure to hot water.

Previous studies have shown that repeatedly scrubbing or washing certain plastic bottles releases BPA, as well. Belcher says it is still unclear at what level BPA becomes harmful to humans, but urges consumers to consider the cumulative effect of many exposures.

On the brain – A new study by UC's Neuroscience Institute has found using a combination of treatments may be the best bet in treating malignant tumors in brain cancer patients. The study focused on 34 patients who underwent surgery to remove recurrent malignant brain tumors. Radiation seeds are implanted in the brain and deliver radiation to a targeted area for six months. Chemotherapy wafers are placed along the surface of the brain. Compared to using either of the treatments alone, the combination of seeds and wafers appeared to delay disease progression and increase length of patient survival.

Lead danger – A new grant will help scientists in UC's environmental health department continue their ground-breaking research on lead and its effects on growing children. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded about $1.6 million in research grants to UC environmental health scientists investigating the effects of lead and mold exposure during childhood on allergy development.

Pain relief – In September, the first comprehensive pain center in the Tristate opened on the University Pointe campus in West Chester, Ohio. There, UC doctors Muhammad Munir and Hamman Akbik are able to offer treatments ranging from physical and psychological therapy to injections and medical management all in one location. Chronic pain is a common and debilitating condition, affecting more than 76 million Americans. "This larger space allows us to practice multidisciplinary pain management in state-of-the-art suites," says Akbik.

Top doc – UC physiologist Jay Hove has been recognized among the best young scientists in the country. He is a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed on scientists new to their fields. The first UC scientist to receive the honor, Hove accepted the award during a morning reception at the White House in November.

UC makes national news

Wall Street Journal -- quoted UC professor Andrew La Barbera about whether new fertility techniques are giving patients false hope.

History Channel -- featured UC's Ken Tankersley, Ed '78, MA (A&S) '82, in a documentary about climate change. He has traveled the world sifting through the archaeological record of climate variation.

Popular Mechanics -- wrote about the work of UC researchers who were studying the surgical skills of a remote-operated robot compared to a human surgeon. Both had to perform surgery inside a diving DC-9 aircraft to simulate zero gravity.

New York Times -- quoted environmental health professor Scott Clark about the dangers of lead paint. Clark has led teams of investigators who sampled paint across China and found a high percentage of tainted goods.

Good Morning America -- carried a performance by musical theater graduates Kirsten Wyatt, CCM '97, and Brian Sears, CCM '05, actors in "Grease" on Broadway.

National Public Radio -- talked with Randy Pagulayan, MA (A&S) '98, PhD (A&S) '00, senior researcher with Microsoft Game Studios, about the popularity of the video game Halo 3.

USA Today -- interviewed history professor Thomas Lorman who commented on a federal outreach program that brought veterans into his classroom to explain to students why they had served.

CBS Sunday Morning -- touched base with history professor Wendy Kline about genetic screening for embryos. Kline's book "Building a Better Race" traces the history of the eugenics movement.

Pageant magic strikes again at UC

The University of Cincinnati may just be the cradle of beauty queens.

For the second time in eight years, a Bearcat has claimed the title of Miss America. UC College-Conservatory of Music student Kirsten Haglund won the 2008 national crown following in the footsteps of former Miss America, Heather Renee French Henry, DAAP '97, who was crowned in 2000.

Other UC beauties have included Titilayo Adedokun, CCM '94, MM '96, who was second runner-up for Miss America in 1993; Tiffany Haas, BFA '05, a CCM student, who competed for Miss America in 2003; Aisha Berry, Bus '05, who competed for Miss USA; Robyn Hancock, CCM '98, who was Miss Ohio in '96; and Sarah Jane Everman, BFA '03, also from CCM, who won the title America's Junior Miss in 1999. See the complete list of pageant winners from UC.

Growing up in the Detroit suburb of Farmington Hills, Haglund, 19, represented the state of Michigan. The musical theater student hopes to land on Broadway one day and shared her skills with the world during the talent competition as she sang an impressive rendition of "Over the Rainbow."

Haglund said she would use the crown to raise awareness of eating disorders, which she has also had to overcome. In addition, Kirsten will serve as the official National Goodwill Ambassador for Children's Miracle Network.

Rankings and accolades

Best design programs
UC's interior design program is ranked No. 1 in the nation for the ninth straight year in the annual employer poll conducted by the Design Futures Council and the journal DesignIntelligence. The poll gauges the schools that best prepare students for professional careers and puts UC ahead of programs at Pratt Institute and Cornell University.

The industrial design program at the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning also came in at No. 2 in the nation for the third consecutive year, beating out Ohio State University, while the DAAP graduate program ranked No. 3.

Undergraduate architecture ranked No. 5 in the same poll, ahead of programs at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Notre Dame. UC placed as the nation's No. 7 graduate architecture program, higher than Princeton University, Yale University and the University of Virginia.

A model delegation
Fifteen UC students proved they were ready to take on the world in November during the American Model United Nations (AMUN) event in Chicago. The delegation of political science and international affairs students competed with 90 universities and was one of only four schools to receive "Best Delegation" honors. AMUN is a simulation of the U.N. and gives students a chance to tackle issues such as nuclear proliferation, inhumane punishment and counter-terrorism strategies.

Zimpher honored
President Nancy Zimpher was chosen as the 2007 recipient of the National Panhellenic Conference Foundation's Women in Higher Education Achievement Award. The honor recognizes successful women as models for students who make up thousands of sororities nationwide. Zimpher is a member of Kappa Alpha Theta.

In her four years at UC, she has implemented UC|21, a strategic academic plan; created numerous corporate and community partnerships; as well as served on or chaired many national and regional commissions and boards.

Golden award
UC's Mortar Board chapter for outstanding seniors is golden. At the organization's national conference in Columbus July 2007 student Jaime Meyer, president of the Mystic Thirteen Chapter and a fifth-year accounting major, accepted the Golden Torch Award. The award is presented to chapters for going "above and beyond" Mortar Board's mission for promoting excellence in academics, leadership and service.

Scholars flock to UC
For the second year in a row, UC has made the list of colleges enrolling the most National Merit Scholars. In January, the Chronicle of Higher Education ranked only 98 institutions as having 20 or more freshman scholars. UC enrolled 27 first-year National Merit Scholars in 2007, placing the university 75th on the list.

Super Bowl design

Two DAAP graphic design students spent this past year creating the look millions saw at Super Bowl XLII in February 2008. While the Patriots and Giants battled on the field, the designs of Justin Curtis and Sarah Dunn surrounded the teams and fans in the stadium and throughout the city, airport and hotels of Phoenix.

Both Dunn and Curtis worked this past year at Infinite Scale Design Group in Salt Lake City as part of their co-op quarters. There, they worked on a professional team with two UC alumni, Zach Norman, DAAP '06, and Travis Lee, DAAP '05, to craft the Super Bowl art.

Co-op's founder back on campus

The UC educator credited with developing the world's first model for cooperative education in 1906 now has a permanent likeness that stands just outside Baldwin Hall. In October 2007, the university unveiled this bronze bust of Herman Schneider [at right], UC's one-time president and dean of the College of Engineering. The bust is perched atop a granite pedestal right outside Schneider's old first-floor office window. The 1,500-pound sculpture is only the third statue on campus. The other two are of basketball great Oscar Robertson, Bus '60, and former president and chief justice William Howard Taft, Law 1880, HonDoc '25.

New contract for Coach Kelly

UC marked its most celebrated football season in recent history by tearing up the contract of first-year head coach Brian Kelly. The new five-year contract guarantees the 2007 Big East Conference Coach of the Year $1.2 to $1.35 million annually, placing him just above the midpoint among Big East coaches and expected to keep him on Cincy's sidelines through 2012. Kelly's Bearcats finished the season at 10-3 with a convincing win over Southern Mississippi at the Papajohns.com Bowl. UC's first 10-win campaign in 56 years yielded a No. 17 Associated Press Poll final ranking, its first Top 25 finish. UC also agreed to build an on-campus indoor facility and practice fields.

Mourning Rieveschl, Corbett and Herschede

George Rieveschl's contributions to society continued throughout his life. The well-known UC researcher, former vice president, professor emeritus and alumnus was best known for developing Benadryl, the world's first prescription antihistamine, found in dozens of allergy medicines and sleep aids today.

Rieveschl, A&S '37, MS (A&S) '39, PhD (A&S) '40, HonDoc '56, passed away in September 2007 at the age of 91. Near the end of his life, the engineering professor emeritus made one last gift to his alma mater -- a $1 million bequest, bringinig the total of his gifts for the year to $2.85 million. Ealier in 2007, he and his wife, Ellen, had made a major contribution to the College of Medicine to create a professorship for diabetes genomics research.

Within months of Rieveschl's death, the university community also mourned the loss of philanthropists Joni Herschede, HonDoc '04, and Patricia Corbett, HonDoc '76. Herschede was a former UC Trustee, UC Foundation Trustee and member of the UCATS Board of Directors. She, like Corbett, gave generously to the university over the years. The Corbett name is held in high esteem at UC's College-Conservatory of Music where several venues are named in her honor, including the Corbett Center for the Performing Arts.

$20 million for space exploration

UC's scientific reach across the universe moved light years ahead this fall with the announcement of a $20 million gift dedicated to space exploration. The anonymous bequest to the university, the largest-ever by an individual, establishes two endowed chairs in space exploration -- one named for Thomas Jefferson and the other for Alan Shepard.

News Record digitized

From beehive hairdos and a Dionne Warwick concert to ball games and protest marches, old issues of the News Record contain it all. Now alumni can go online to read every student newspaper from 1961 through 1970 in a searchable database thanks to funding from the Alumni Association and UC Archives and Rare Books, which digitized the collection. Additional decades will be digitized if funding can be obtained, but these years were selected because the era reflected so much accomplishment and change at UC, says archivist Kevin Grace, MA (A&S) '77.

Applications to UC soar

For the second year in a row, freshmen applications have hit a record high with wait lists for many colleges and programs. A double-digit increase in applications has nearly filled the autumn 2008 freshman class on the Uptown Campus, and UC plans to offer admission to 300 more students than in 2007.

The university will place applicants on a wait list while it focuses on building a quality freshman class that can be accommodated with appropriate classes and housing. Wait-listed students will be contacted as space becomes available in their programs or alternative programs. As another option, they are encouraged to begin fall studies at one of UC's regional campuses or through Cincinnati Pathways agreements with Cincinnati State and Sinclair Community College.

"There's a lot of interest and word-of-mouth excitement out there about UC," says Tom Canepa, assistant vice president for admissions. "Word is spreading about the beautiful campus. People are hearing that things are happening here, and they want to see what it's all about."

College of Law celebrates 175 years with John Grisham

To celebrate the College of Law's 175th anniversary, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and 1,000 other guests turned out at a gala featuring legal novelist John Grisham and Emmy-winning alumnus sportscaster Cris Collinsworth, JD '91. Grisham, who wrote his first nonfiction book, "The Innocent Man," last year, made an impassioned plea for people to support the Ohio Innocence Project, for which he is a national board member. Earlier in the day, he had participated in an interactive meeting with the entire student body of the college -- the first law school west of the Alleghenies and the fourth-oldest continuously operating law school in the country.

Law students on national TV

The Ohio Innocence Project, based out of the UC College of Law, was subject matter for pilot episodes for two different TV series last fall. Court TV featured one of the UC cases in debuting a new series called "Justice Delayed." Earlier in the fall, a new A&E network series called "Innocence Files" featured three UC students and their work developing the ongoing case of inmate Glenn Tinney.

The Innocence Project is a national program that works to exonerate the wrongfully convicted through post-conviction DNA testing and evidence that can conclusively prove innocence. In four years, students, who work with real clients under direct supervision of professors and an attorney, have screened thousands of requests from prisoners and have produced enough evidence to free three men.

Most recently, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland urged judges and prosecutors to allow DNA testing on 30 inmates who are being represented by the Ohio Innocence Project or the state public defender's office.

Magazine receives CASE awards

University of Cincinnati Magazine is pleased to announce that it won two awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education District V competition this winter:

  • Silver Award -- feature writing, John Bach, "We Have Arrived," an article about 35 years of women's basketball at UC
  • Bronze Award -- most improved alumni/institution magazine, comparing the year's issues from '07 to '05