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Photo/Dottie Stover

Keeping it safe

No one wants ice on an airplane, but no one wants environmentally hazardous deicing chemicals on a runway or in the soil, either.

Last winter, the first full-scale bioremediation treatment of such chemicals took place at a commercial airport, thanks to techniques developed by UC environmental engineer Makram Suidan, in collaboration with EFX Systems. For more than 20 years, Suidan has been developing bioremediation applications to degrade a variety of toxic compounds, including those created from the production of certain resins, gasoline and Agent Orange. His research recently received a U.S. EPA contract for up to $15.7 million.

UC School of Energy, Environmental, Biological & Medical Engineering

Criminal justice division rated nationally

No doubt, here, about where the "good guys" are. They're in UC's criminal justice division, which is rated No. 2 nationally in an analysis published by the "Journal of Criminal Justice Education."

The division, which awards associate through doctoral degrees in the College of Education, has grown rapidly since 1991 when a state challenge grant helped UC expand program offerings. Since then, 12 PhDs have graduated, and 50 doctoral students are currently enrolled.

The Center for Criminal Justice Research, founded three years ago, is also gaining ground as a major national service provider. This year the center is conducting 35 projects worth $3.5 million on issues of policing and corrections.

Current UC rankings


Illustration/Angela Klocke

Test for brain damage biomarker

A new discovery by UC researchers can show physicians whether serious brain damage has occurred or is continuing after a patient suffers a head injury. The first medical test that can measure microscopic damage to the brain before symptoms are obvious is expected to have a commercial value of about $150 million a year.

Led by psychiatry professor Frank Zemlan, UC College of Medicine's research team worked with researchers in northern Ohio and California to identify a biomarker for brain damage: Tau protein. It appears in a patient's cerebrospinal fluid only after traumatic injury to the brain.

The biochemical test that was developed can provide doctors with information for diagnosis and help them determine whether the brain injury is getting worse, how long a patient should need for recovery and the effectiveness of medicines used.

UC designs 'merit winners'

Grass-covered berms ripple around UC's Aronoff Center for Design and Art. A spiraling nautilus of stone commands the paved plaza of Library Square. These earth-shaping elements of the university's ongoing master plan are winning international acclaim.

"Landscape Architecture" magazine has named UC's designs as merit winners in a prestigious international competition sponsored by the American Society of Landscape Architects. Both were created by prominent landscape designer George Hargreaves.

UC's Library Square was recognized for its "dynamic quality" and "humor." The undulating landforms around the Aronoff Center were praised for complementing the building's "whimsy" and "mystery."

Interactive UC campus map

University gets top dollar

Record levels of external support at UC last fiscal year hit $116 million, a 7-percent increase over the previous year. The total moved the university up in the National Science Foundation research rankings, from 85th position to 53rd in the nation -- on par with such highly acclaimed research institutions as the University of Chicago.

The following factors contributed to UC's commendable position:

  • UC researchers attracted nearly 75 percent of the total.
  • The College of Medicine brought in the largest sum: 64 percent, $69 million.
  • The College of Engineering was next in line: 22 percent, $18.5 million.
  • Eighty-six percent of UC's total external support came from the federal government, roughly a 30-percent increase from two years ago.

Once again, UC's patent income remained No. 1 in Ohio, and the Association of University Technology Managers ranked it 34th in the nation, placing it ahead of such schools as Purdue. UC's 1998 fiscal year royalties, which are not yet reflected in current AUTM rankings, look even better: $3.27 million, or a 23 percent increase from '97.

UC leads all Tristate universities in patent income (2002)

girls with spoons

Engineering student Michelle Wood (left) competed with Holly Russel. Photo/Dottie Stover

Just a spoonful of sugar

Victory is sweet for those who spoon-relayed the most candy in a UC Engineers Week race, one of a series of silly contests that celebrated teamwork. Engineering student Michelle Wood (left) competed with Holly Russel for an early lead, while Jennifer Rogers, Corey DeFife and Matt Hansen waited for their turn to try.

Other challenges saw future engineers designing and racing mousetrap-powered cars, creating and flying paper airplanes and constructing protective containers for eggs to be dropped from a three-story building. Among less cerebral activities: a tricycle race, coney-eating contest and a competition to collect the most food and household items for charity.

Eweek at UC (2011)

National Engineers Week Foundation

Another $70 million

UC and the Barrett Cancer Center seem poised to go after a comprehensive designation from the National Cancer Institute, following two announcements in the spring: A new director was hired, and the College of Medicine acknowledged receipt of a trust fund of more than $70 million, which, ultimately, will be used to build its cancer research program.

More than 40 years ago, musician William French established the trust to recruit cancer research scientists. In '96, to honor the family, the college established the French Cancer Research Institute, to be part of the Vontz Center for Molecular Studies which opened in October '99.

The new director of both the institute and the Barrett Center is Dr. Kenneth Foon, a nationally recognized expert in the field of cancer vaccines and former director of the University of Kentucky cancer center.


Illustration/Angela Klocke

Success story

Do I hear $70 million?

Four UC graduates could match that bid after selling their start-up online auction site, Up4Sale, to eBay, the San Jose-based business that pioneered Internet auctioneering.

Originated by Rob Ratterman (BusAd '95) and Chris Downie (BusAd '94), then later joined by Tom Duvall (DAAP '95) and Walter Carroll (JD '97), Up4Sale went online in 1997. Following last year's buyout, UC's entrepreneurial foursome is now reportedly worth $70 million, plus eBay stock options.

EBay also hired the group to maintain the Up4Sale.com Web site as a market tester for the parent company. The former Bearcats, however, insisted they remain in Cincinnati rather than moving to California, and despite their recent wealth, they have maintained their non-traditional office above a pool hall in Over-the-Rhine.

That relaxed style has been a consistent thread throughout the company's brief history, which started in 1996 when Downie and Ratterman, both in their 20s, traded their corporate suits for casual attire and ventured out on their own.

UC Magazine profile of Chris Downie (2010)

"Local team makes millions with Web site" Cincinnati Enquirer (1999)

CanDo.com (Rob Ratterman's company)

SparkPeople.com (Chris Downie's company; named "Best Health Website" by Business Week)

guy with T-shirt

Photo/Lisa Ventre

UC grad's logo scores big

UC graduate John Winger's work will soon be seen by thousands of screaming fans. His logo won a Cincinnati Bengals-sponsored design competition to create a logo for the new Paul Brown Stadium. When the stadium opens in August 2000, Winger's energetic logo will be plastered across signs in and around the stadium, as well as on merchandise like footballs, hats and T-shirts. Winger competed among graphic design students at UC's College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning during his senior year.

An elite class

From paleontology to medicine to law, UC's PhD programs rank among the best in the country, according to the March 29 issue of "U.S. News & World Report."

The magazine's guide to the finest graduate schools placed UC sixth nationally in pediatrics programs, the highest ranking for an Ohio medical school. UC slid into the 35th spot in primary care and 45th in medical schools overall. The paleontology PhD programs earned a ninth, while the law school came in at 47th.

Current UC rankings

No dream too big


Illustration/Angela Klocke

Selling one's first book for $1 million may be a nice dream, but the average person would consider it just that -- a dream. Alumnus/author Glenn Kleier, however, proves that sometimes we fail to dream big enough. Not only did Warner Books give him a $1 million advance for his first novel, but NBC also coughed up nearly that much again for a miniseries slated to begin production this summer.

Since first works usually fetch between $15,000 and $25,000, Kleier's achievement has made a few headlines and provided a nice selling point for a winter book tour, as well as radio and TV appearances.

Kleier, A&S '72, spent seven years researching and writing "The Last Day," a story that involves a giant meteor crashing into a top-secret lab and a woman who proclaims herself the new Messiah.

The book's timing coincides nicely with the current millennium hysteria. Kleier's next book, a political potboiler, should be out in the spring.

Glenn Kleier's page on GoodReads.com

The Last Day on Amazon.com

Dreaming again

Another alumnus's first novel may be headed for movie theaters. A production company co-owned by actor Patrick Stewart recently obtained an option to make a film of "The Kommandant's Mistress," by Sherri Szeman, PhD (A&S) '86. According to "Variety," Stewart plans to produce and star in the film.

Published by HarperCollins in '93, the book has sold 10,000 hardcover copies and 11,000 paperback copies. It also went into four printings and was selected one of the Best Books of 1993 by the "New York Times Book Review."

Szeman's book recounts the tale of a Czech woman taken to a Nazi concentration camp, where her parents are gassed and she is forced to fulfill the kommandant's sexual demands. The author is currently writing her second novel.

The Kommandant's Mistress on GoodReads.com

The Kommandant's Mistress on Amazon.com

A trying case

Prosecuting a serial killer is a pinnacle case for even a seasoned attorney.

Yet it became part of the classroom experience for 12 UC College of Law students earlier this year. Working with the Hamilton County prosecutor's office, associate professor Jack Chin landed an opportunity for his criminal appellate advocacy class to ascend to the apex of criminal law by researching and preparing actual casework against white supremacist Joseph Paul Franklin.

Franklin, convicted of nine murders and suspected of many more, was found guilty last year of the 1980 sniper-style shootings of two Bond Hill teens. The Hamilton County prosecutor agreed to allow UC students to prepare the first draft of the brief to be used against Franklin when his case goes before the Ohio Court of Appeals.

Not only impressed that the case was "challenging, consequential and important," Chin says, "I was pleased because of how they viewed the College of Law and the respect they have for the quality of education here."


Illustration/Angela Klocke

Soothing sounds

Stuck in rush hour traffic, your car radio can either calm your nerves or rub salt on them. With annoying songs only a button's jab from termination, auditions are harsh in your four-wheeled studio. But what about when you are snarled in telephone traffic?

When you're stuck on "musical hold" with no way to change the channel, the question is: Do you hang up or hold on?

UC associate professor of marketing James Kellaris has learned that the length of time you hang on may depend on your gender and the type of music playing. Kellaris' research regarding the effects of music on consumers compared the impact of light jazz, classical, rock and alternative music on men and women.

He found that hold times seemed shortest for men when classical music was playing, while the wait was longest for women listening to classical tunes. Combining responses from men and women, light jazz seemed to pass the time the fastest.

UC Magazine article "Beyond Dr. Earworm" (2008)

"UC professor investigating why certain tunes get stuck in our heads" (2001)

Give a hand

How to make work sites safer and more productive? Try a UC industrial engineering team's new CD-ROM, "Industrial and Occupational Ergonomics: Users' Encyclopedia."

Several features make this electronic version superior to traditional handbooks. It is easy to use, concise and inexpensive. A search feature gives almost immediate access to a topic or problem area. It includes everything from preventing serious injuries to designing better hand tools.

Information and solutions were contributed by a long list of experts from six continents. Its $60 price tag is only a fraction of the cost of standard texts in the field -- and students will pay only about half as much.

Anil Mital, professor of industrial engineering and director of UC's Ergonomics and Engineering Control Research Laboratory, coordinated the electronic encyclopedia project. The publisher is the International Journal of Industrial Engineering.

Research at the University of Cincinnati

big guy

Count Trung Nguyen scraped paint from a door. Photo/Lisa Ventre



Crosstown Help-Out

Hundreds of alumni, students and staff from UC and Xavier put aside their usual rivalry for a day in April to benefit local urban schools during the Crosstown Help-Out. Count Trung Nguyen (pictured right), a fourth-year student at the College of Business Administration, scraped paint from a door at Norwood View Elementary School. About 350 UC and XU volunteers turned out for the event to help clean up and repair 20 area schools.

Try this on

Molecular laundry and digital fashions may influence clothing trends in the next century, say third-year fashion design students at the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning. After analyzing scientific breakthroughs and popular culture, associate professor Margaret Voelker-Ferrier's students are making the following predictions:

virtual clothes

Illustration/Angela Klocke

2005 -- Blue jeans will be passe.

2010 -- Stain-resistant clothes will be laundered molecularly rather than with water. (For comparison, molecular technology is the way microwaves heat.)

2050 -- Clothes for the elderly will contain devices to attract solar heat and monitor the wearer's organ functions.

2069 -- Faces draw more attention than bodies with head tubes that function like mood rings and clothing with high collars and laser-applied paint. At the same time, men manage to attract additional attention -- far from their heads -- by wearing skirts.

Beyond 2100 -- When conducting business on two-way video terminals, professionals will don "virtual clothes" from their software wardrobes -- always the latest style, a custom fit and the correct palette.

Nearing 2500 -- Since drugs will make perfect weight possible, expressing one's individuality will come from condensed packages of clothing that are mixed with water, then draped and sculpted by the wearer to make a highly personal statement.

New engineering dean

In May, the College of Engineering welcomed its new dean, Stephen Kowel, a former professor, interim dean and chair of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Holding 11 patents, Kowel is an optics expert with experience in both holographic television and liquid crystals, which is a key component in building an optical super memory for computers.

New chairman of the board

Michael Barrett, A&S '74, JD '77, was named chairman of the UC Board of Trustees this year. He is a partner with the firm Barrett & Weber.