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Inside Uptown & 'Round About

Medical Breakthroughs

Understanding stroke
UC's neurology department won a $6.8 million NIH grant renewal to help thousands of patients who suffer from stroke and transient ischemic attacks (TIA). Founded in 1993 at the College of Medicine, the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Stroke Team identifies all hospitalized and autopsied cases of stroke and TIA in a five-county region to help better understand the causes of stroke and its prevalence in Greater Cincinnati. Furthermore, UC's College of Allied Health Sciences has partnered with Drake Center to use a navigated-brain-stimulation device to guide patient treatment after a stroke. The team is analyzing the brain's ability to transmit high-quality signals to a patient's muscles in an effort to better predict the success of physical therapy during post-stroke rehabilitation.

Hungry? Blame food fat
UC obesity researchers say hunger hormones are activated by fats from the foods we eat -- not those produced in the body. The new findings, published in June, refute the predominant thinking about hunger hormones and point instead to a novel stomach enzyme that could be targeted in future treatments for metabolic diseases.

Predicting cancer outcome
UC environmental health scientists have identified a new biomarker they say could help predict a person's risk of developing colon cancer and how aggressive it becomes. The team identified areas of genetic data deletion that play a critical role in regulating gene expression and influence colon cancer progression. Researchers speculate that these "hotspots" could be used as a biomarker for colon cancer. In addition, UC cancer and cell biologists have identified a promising new molecular pathway key to the development of invasive prostate cancers. They hope their findings about two specific genes (PTEN and Par-4) will provide a clear molecular target to help guide development of new drugs to treat prostate cancer without harming the patient.

100 years," says neurosurgery professor John Tew, who performed the surgery at University Hospital with a seven-member team from the Brain Tumor Center at the UC Neuroscience Institute, where Tew is the clinical director.

3-D brain map
UC neurosurgeons and radiologists fused four different types of radiologic images into a 3-D map of the brain to successfully remove a fist-sized tumor from the brain of an Indiana woman this summer. "This marks the culmination of one of the most important developments in brain tumor surgery in the last 100 years," says neurosurgery professor John Tew, who performed the surgery at University Hospital with a seven-member team from the Brain Tumor Center at the UC Neuroscience Institute, where Tew is the clinical director.

Bench to bedside
Enhancing its status as a premier research institution, UC received an elite $23 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant aimed at bringing innovations from the laboratory bench to the bedside. The award was given to support programming within UC's Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Training, a collaboration with Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, University Hospital and the Cincinnati Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Fashionable hospital gown

Among hundreds of original garments being modeled at the annual College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning fashion show in June were a wide range of gowns -- everything from evening gowns to hospital gowns that can be worn with dignity.

University faculty and students, in partnership with Hill-Rom Co., a hospital-bed and medical-equipment maker, designed the hospital gowns in a variety of styles to accommodate various medical conditions. All are functional, comfortable, cost effective, easily donned, durable and less "breezy" than standard-issue gowns. Student also designed accessories, including a scarf with pockets, arm warmers, leg warmers and a shawl wrap.

Hill-Rom will spend about one year conducting research on manufacturing, marketing and demand. One day, the product line could possibly be available online, in hospital gift shops or via pre-orders prior to hospital stays.

DAAP students win design competition

UC students in the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning have a lot to build on: They took home nearly every award in the 2009 Lyceum Fellowship architectural design competition, arguably the world's most prestigious student contest in the field. UC graduate architecture student Caity Osborn took top prize, winning $12,000 to fund five months of travel. In total, UC won seven out of 10 awards, including five of six merit awards.

This isn't the first time UC cleaned up in the competition, either -- in 2006, UC architecture students received five of the six awards given.

"I have never seen a school essentially sweep the competition twice, as the University of Cincinnati has now done," said Jon McKee, chair and founder of the Lyceum Fellowship Committee. "And this contest has been held for 24 years."

$5 million in gifts, grants

$2 million for Catholic studies -- The Ruth and Robert Conway Foundation gave UC's McMicken College of Arts and Sciences $2 million to establish a chair in Catholic studies. The gift will allow for the study of Catholicism's role in shaping secular disciplines for the last 2,000 years. The Conways' donation supports one of UC's "Proudly Cincinnati" campaign goals, which is the advancement of great teaching.

$3 million for biomedical technology -- UC has received $3 million from the state of Ohio to develop and market laser-shock peening (LSP), a technology that fights fatigue in the materials used to create biomedical devices, such as the titanium alloy rods used in spinal implant devices. LSP was first used in aviation, where it increases the reliability and lifespan of the titanium alloy found in aircraft turbine engines.

Vijay Vasudevan, a professor in the College of Engineering, is leading the project and hopes the technology will eventually lead to the manufacture of new, high-value biomedical devices in Ohio, creating jobs and economic growth.

Does UC stand for 'up and coming'?

U.S. News & World Report is the latest publication to describe UC as “up-and-coming.” The magazine’s annual “America’s Best Colleges” issue recently declared UC among 18 “up-and-coming” schools on the National Universities list. The U.S. News recognition was preceded by The Chronicle of Higher Education, which in July named UC among five "up-and-coming" universities.

Princeton Review raves about UC

Naming the university as one of the nation's best undergraduate institutions for the third consecutive year, the Princeton Review listed UC in its 2010 guidebook of best colleges. Only 15 percent of the nation's four-year colleges are profiled in the annual guide, which called UC an urban university in the midst of a renaissance and highlighted the campus's diversity.

Partnering for a healthier Cincinnati

The University of Cincinnati, UC Physicians and University Hospital have partnered to form UC Health, a collaboration that brings together the Tri-state's largest group of specialists with the area's premier teaching hospital and trauma center.

Together, the partnership will comprise more than 659 clinicians, a 650-bed hospital, 20 clinical locations across the region and a medical campus in West Chester, Ohio. University Hospital and UC Physicians provide care to more than 600,000 patients each year.

David Stern, College of Medicine dean and vice president for health affairs, says UC Health has stemmed from strategic planning among the hospital, medical college and physician practice already in place.

"UC health is more than just a new name," says Stern. "It will allow us to sustain and support a college of medicine, a faculty who teach, treat and discover, and a hospital that takes on the toughest cases and succeeds. Our progress has been and will be essential to our status as a great city."

Lee Ann Liska, executive director of University Hospital, says the partnerships represents a re-dedication to the longstanding relationship between the facility and UC, and is "built on a commitment to the community, medical 'firsts' and a tradition of quality."

Handing over more Habitat keys

The University of Cincinnati, partnering with Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity, handed over its sixth set of house keys to a local family who could have never purchased a home on their own.

The partnership helped TyAnn Edwards and her teenage son, Dwight Williams, move into a brand new home in Avondale in 2009. Just as in previous years, UC committed to funding and supplying volunteers to build the home, while Edwards' family invested 500 hours of sweat equity and is purchasing the home with a 25-year interest-free mortgage. UC student ingenuity also helped equip the home to accommodate Edwards' wheelchair, which she's needed since being paralyzed in a car accident. The Edwards family is pictured with Tom Salzbrun, Cincinnati Habitat's executive director, and Helen Spieler, family services manager.

Expanding benefits for veterans

The university has expanded college tuition benefits for qualifying veterans, specifically post-9/11 service men and women.

UC is taking part in a new federal Yellow Ribbon program that expands the existing GI Bill, which pays a portion of undergraduate tuition, and clears the way for qualifying vets who need assistance to attend graduate and professional schools such as law and medicine.

Provost Anthony Perzigian says this is one more step by UC to lead the state among four-year public insitutions in opportunities for veterans. The university now accommodates up to 50 such students a year, half of who are enrolled in grad programs.

Commencement highlights

Springtime always cultivates a rash of commencement festivities on UC's various campuses. Official commencement exercises took place at three ceremonies in Fifth Third Arena on June 12 and 13, 2009, but individual colleges had their own events and the College of Law hooding occurred on May 10.

Paul Polman, MA (A&S) '79, MBA '79, chief executive officer of Unilever, addressed graduates at the two major commencement ceremonies for undergraduates on June 13.

Polman also received an honorary doctorate, as did Otto Budig Jr., Bus '56, president and owner of Budco Group; Joseph Pichler, retired board chairman, CEO of the Kroger Co.; and Jeffrey Williams, DAAP '75, president of Jeffrey Williams & Co., trustee and chairman of the UC Foundation. UC's Award for Excellence went to Yvonne Robertson, Ed '56, who has spent more than 30 years serving as a community volunteer.

Cris Collinsworth, JD '91, two-time Emmy winner and former NFL player with the Cincinnati Bengals, was the graduation speaker at law's hooding.

Statistics for the new graduates indicate:

• 4,430 students applied for graduation.

• 4,515 degrees were earned (some graduates earned more than one degree).

• 27 was the average age (18 was the youngest and 64 the oldest).

• 58% were women.

• 13% reflected a minority group.

• 63 countries and 47 states, plus Washington, D.C., were represented.

• And 13 was one lucky number for 13 students who combined their June 13 graduation with their birthdays.

CCM alumni nab two Tonys

Two musical theater alumni upheld their college's stellar Broadway reputation by winning two Tony Awards in June 2009.

Karen Olivo, CCM '97, won "Best Performance by a Featured Actress" for her role as Anita in the revival of "West Side Story." She also received a Drama Desk nomination and an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination for the show, which was produced by CCM grad Kevin McCollum, CCM '84, HonDoc '05.

Matt Kraus, CCM '01, did the sound design for "Liza's at the Palace!" which starred Liza Minnelli and won "Best Special Theatrical Event."

Also worth noting are the following College-Conservatory of Music alumni:

Josh Prince, CCM '96, did the choreography for "Shrek, the Musical," which was nominated for "Best Musical." Prince was also "Best Choreography" nominee for the Outer Critics Circle Award.

Leslie Kritzer, CCM '99, received an Outer Critics Circle Awards nomination for "Outstanding Actress in a Musical" for her performance in "Rooms: A Rock Romance."

Liz Pearce, CCM '00, is a performer in "Billy Elliot, the Musical," which won the Tony for "Best Musical."

Grads on prime time, in NY Times

In May, the History Channel cable network featured the field research of UC anthropologist Ken Tankersley, Ed '78, MA (A&S) '82, and his students during the prime-time show "How the Earth Was Made." The episode focused on evidence that an asteroid or comet had a cataclysmic impact with the Earth about 12,900 years ago, a timeframe consistent with the disappearance of numerous animal species and the Clovis people, who were among the first human inhabitants of North America.

The UC professor and students have been working in Sheriden Cave in Ohio's Wyandot County. Until recently, geologists could find no evidence that the mountain-sized boulders from space had ever struck the Earth, notes the network's episode synopsis.

Then in July, UC was the primary source for a New York Times feature on how universities retain first-generation, low-income students. The article highlighted UC's Gen-1 Theme House, where students who are eligible for Pell grants can live as long as they agree to strict rules, such as no alcohol, no overnight visitors and a curfew.

Farmers' style fast food

Students rushing to class through McMicken Commons could grab a quick slice of homemade bread or a whole carrot to munch on during spring quarter, giving a whole new meaning to the words "fast food." Organized by Students for Ecological Design, a farmers market sold locally grown produce, herbs and flowers, as well as freshly made cheese, baked goods and soap on alternating Mondays. The student organization, housed at the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, wanted to educate colleagues about the importance of local food and products.

Science for preschoolers

Preschool children from diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds at UC's Arlitt Child and Family Research and Education Center will use 700 acres of pristine forest as an occasional classroom, thanks to a two-year grant from the PNC Foundation. Designed to give area preschoolers more opportunities to learn science through hands-on experiences, the grant establishes a partnership among PNC, UC, the Cincinnati Nature Center and the nonprofit organization Child Focus.

Funding will train local teachers and introduce families of Head Start children to the natural sciences through curriculum developed by Arlitt. Founded in 1925, Arlitt is one of the country's oldest demonstration preschools.

Mentoring foster youth

Just 3 percent of foster children go on to earn college degrees, according to the Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care. UC is hoping to change that statistic by partnering with Hamilton County Job and Family Services to provide county foster youth with mentors, beginning in high school, to help the students prepare for post-secondary education and training.

Mentors will come from UC's School of Social Work and be recruited from the community, including the ranks of local businesses, faith-based organizations and retirees. The volunteers will guide foster youth through the higher education experience, including help with scheduling classes, accessing grants and scholarships, choosing a career and completing coursework toward their degrees.